“He was having so much fun he didn’t want to leave!”
Daniel was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a serious life-threatening condition in which a hole in the diaphragm (the muscle under the lungs that is responsible for breathing) allows abdominal organs to move into the chest, which prevents the lungs from developing normally, resulting in pulmonary hypoplasia. When a baby’s lungs don’t fully develop, they have trouble breathing and are unable to take in enough oxygen to stay healthy. Daniel was immediately placed on an ECMO machine, a heart and lung bypass system that does the job that the heart and lungs would be doing. The ECMO allowed Daniel’s blood to “bypass” his heart and lungs so those organs did not have to work as hard for 28 days.
While his condition stabilized, Daniel had his first of many surgeries. His doctors discovered not only did Daniel have a diaphragmatic hernia and only one fully developed lung, but his heart was also on the wrong side of his body and higher up in his chest than it should have been. At two weeks old, he underwent his second surgery to repair the hole in his diaphragm. Since birth, Daniel has had six to ten reoccurring hernias. To date, he’s had over 20 surgical procedures..
His mom describes Daniel as an “old soul with a young heart.” Daniel loves building forts in his house and playing with LEGOs. Kids Wish Network wanted to make Daniel’s wish as spectacular as possible and started by surprising him with the news at a Rhoades Elementary School assembly that he and his family were being sent on a fabulous trip to Dallas to visit the Legoland Discovery Center.
After arriving in Dallas, Daniel and his family had a surprise waiting for them in their DFW Grand Hyatt hotel room. Daniel was greeted with a special LEGO themed cake made in his honor by Society Bakery and a spread of LEGO shaped tea sandwiches and fruit courtesy of the Grand Hyatt. He loved all of the special treats and attention. Later on, the “LEGO King” had the time of his life enjoying the Discovery Center’s LEGO playground, 4D cinema, rides, and Star Wars display! “He didn’t want to leave,” said Daniel’s mom, Angela. He was easily pacified though when he walked into Bone Daddy’s Restaurant and was welcomed by none other than his very favorite TMNT character, Donatello. Daniel was beside himself with excitement as Donatello made him a ninja stick, and the restaurant staff showered him with gifts galore. Daniel’s smile remained in place as he toured the Dallas Fort Worth Auto Show. Next to LEGOS, cars are Daniel’s passion. Daniel was the only lucky individual granted VIP access, which allowed him to sit in the luxury vehicles. His next stop was the Dallas Firefighter Museum, where he was given a Jr. Firefighter hat and matching a gear. It came in handy when a local station’s crew stopped by to meet Daniel and show him the ropes. He explored their new fire truck and even had the opportunity to go up in the cherry picker. While Daniel was in town, he also caught a show at the Dallas Children’s Theater, was knighted during a tournament at Medieval Times, viewed the wildlife at the Dallas Zoo, visited Sea Life Aquarium, and had the world’s best meal at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Overall, Daniel had a magical time in Texas.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make Daniel’s dream come true:
• Grand Hyatt DFW
• Legoland Discovery Center DFW
• Sea Life Aquarium
• AMC Theater
• Dallas Zoo
• Medieval Times
• DFW Auto Show
• Dallas Firefighter Museum
• Dallas Children’s Theater
• Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
• Bone Daddy’s Restaurant
• Turtle Power Entertainment
• Society Bakery