Baton Rouge, LA – A 5-year-old boy suffering from a life threatening illness had his wish granted to see dinosaur bones with the help of national charity Kids Wish Network.
Just after Anthony was born, he was diagnosed with an illness called Biliary Atresia. It is a disease which causes the bile ducts of the liver to shut down. At three months of age, Anthony required a liver transplant. Anthony’s father, Mark, became the donor for his son, and the surgery was a success. Anthony still has a suppressed immune system and has to take anti-rejection medicine on a daily basis.
Anthony’s mom, Laurie, said that they found out about Kids Wish Network through their social worker at the hospital. She decided to refer her son for a wish. Initially, Anthony said he wanted to build a time machine to travel back in time and see the dinosaurs. But seeing as how that is not possible, instead, he traveled to the Smithsonian Institution in D.C. to see dinosaur bones. Soon after referring her son, Laurie was on the phone with wish coordinator Vanessa, making plans for Anthony’s wish.
“Anthony talked about it for a week non-stop,” said Laurie. “He told the checkout people at all the stores we went to and the garbage man who comes to our house that he was going to see dinosaur bones.”
Laurie said that Anthony has been fascinated with dinosaurs for quite some time now and it all started with a trip to a bookstore.
“It just used to be cars that he liked and all of the sudden it switched to dinosaurs. He picked up a book about dinosaurs and that was it,” she said.
With the help of wish funding specialist Donna, Vanessa got to work and planned the whole trip for Anthony and his parents. A round-trip flight, limo transportation, hotel stay, various dinner arrangements, a visit to The National Zoo, a trip to the Smithsonian and the National Air and Space Museum and even spending money was arranged for the family. Laurie said the family had a great time.
“This was an amazing experience for me. Never would I have been able to arrange all these special things like the private tour we had at the museums,” she said.
The day that the family left for D.C., Laurie said that Anthony woke up at 5 a.m. saying that, “his eyes were too excited to sleep.” She said that when he finally got to see the bones up close, he was so excited.
“When he saw the first bones I thought that his eyes were going to come out of his head,” said Laurie. “He was speechless and that is rare for him because he is so talkative.”
Laurie said that she is so thankful for the chance to see Anthony’s wish come true.
“The whole trip was wonderful. It was a dream come true for Anthony and anything that makes him happy makes us happy,” she said.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Anthony’s wish extra special: Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Chef Geoff’s Downtown, Morton’s of Chicago, Bluepoint Restaurant, National Air and Space Museum, Limousine Services, LLC, Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of Natural History, Baton Rouge River Center, Sons of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, AFL-CIO, Florence Mauboules Charitable Trust
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