EUGENE, Ore. – Kids Wish Network sends a very special girl on the trip of her life to San Francisco and Disneyland in California.
Katie is a sweet, happy teen who enjoys knitting, reading and playing the piano and clarinet. She has an outgoing personality and never meets a stranger. Her favorite movies are comedies such as Night at the Museum and Evan Almighty, her favorite TV show is I Love Lucy, and she is a big fan of The Chronicles of Narnia. She has a golden retriever and a miniature Yorkshire terrier, and adores big stuffed animals. There isn’t much that can damper this upbeat girl’s spirits, except for the painful medical condition she battles.
Five years ago, Katie experienced terrible symptoms of stomach pain, weight loss and bleeding that indicated a diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike a lot of people with the disorder, none of the common treatments or medications has been able to control her symptoms. She was very ill and tired so easily that she relied on a wheelchair for mobility. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments to control the severe inflammation in her intestines and colon. Her condition is chronic, and there is currently no cure.
A friend of the family nominated Katie for a wish with Kids Wish Network, a charitable organization that grants wishes to children who are facing life-threatening illnesses. Alisa was excited to learn that her daughter qualified for a wish of her own, something to get her mind off her ailments. Alisa was soon contacted by one of the organization’s wish coordinators, Jill, who explained that she would create a memorable wish for Katie. Katie wanted nothing more than a fabulous vacation to California and to Disneyland with her family, but Jill was able to arrange a birthday to remember and so much more.
A week prior to leaving for California, the family received a large box in the mail from Kids Wish Network. Inside were many games and toys that were geared toward things that Katie had indicated that she likes, for instance a huge yellow Care Bear. In addition to the cuddly toy that Katie received, additional Care Bears were sent for Katie’s siblings. The family enjoyed helping Katie go through her surprise box of gifts and it helped to build anticipation for their adventure.
Jill enlisted the help of Kids Wish Network’s wish funding specialist Donna, and together they found sponsors that could really help to make Katie’s trip an unforgettable family experience. Jill arranged for the family to travel to San Francisco, where Katie enjoyed a fantastic thirteenth birthday at Joe’s Crab Shack and Ghirardelli Square. The next morning, Katie was off to visit The Aquarium of the Bay, as well as the fantastic sights and attractions of Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Alisa said, “She had a fantastic birthday. She just shined. She loved the Aquarium but thinks eating at Joe’s Crab Shack on her birthday was her favorite experience! Tina, our waitress, made it a really fun time. The people at Ghirardelli Square made her stay [at The Fairmont Heritage] fabulous. They gave her birthday gifts, cupcakes and invitations to eat free all day! They were so kind and generous toward all of us. It was truly a birthday she will never forget. A great place to turn 13…”
Katie, her 5 siblings and her parents then took off on a leisurely road trip that culminated in Anaheim, the home of Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park and close to Knott’s Berry Farm. She really enjoyed the rides at the parks, such as Space Mountain, Toy Story Mania and Sierra Sidewinder. Jill at Kids Wish Network carefully thought out every detail of the trip, making it a stress-free, enjoyable time for Katie and her family. In addition to granting her wish, Kids Wish Network helped to create memories that will last a lifetime, an achievement of which they’re very proud.
Katie says, “I am so thankful for this trip that was so much fun for my whole family…especially me! Thank you for the best birthday, ever! I am grateful to everyone who made this happen for us.” She continued, “Thank you Kids Wish Network!! We love you Jill! God Bless!”
For making Katie’s wish extra special, Kids Wish Network would like to thank: Wal-Mart, Masonic Lodge, Disneyland, Disneyland’s California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, Embassy Suites Anaheim North, Chick-Fil-A, Fairmont Heritage, Joe’s Crab Shack, Chili’s, Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate, Fuddruckers, and Captain Kidd’s.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org