“This experience provided him with happy memories that will last a lifetime”
On New Year’s Day, newborn Max was rushed back to the hospital by his concerned parents. Max was spitting up, hadn’t had his first bowel movement, and had a distended belly. Placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, doctors inserted an internal colon catheter into baby Max to relieve the pressure. After 5 days of tests, Max was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s Disease, a condition that affects the large intestine and causes problems due to missing nerve cells in the muscles within the colon. Baby Max was finally able to go home 10 days later. For the next month, his parents were tasked with irrigating Max’s bowels four times a day to ensure that everything was passing through his fragile system until he could have his first surgery to correct his colon. At the end of January, doctors performed a “pull through” surgery on Max where they tested his colon for the inactive cells and removed the bad portions. Initially the surgery was a success. Max didn’t show symptoms of Hirschsprung’s disease again until he was a year old. A doctor who specializes in the disease ran some new tests on Max and discovered that the first surgery didn’t eradicate all of the affected parts of his colon. A second surgery was performed to remove more of Max’s colon. His parents remain vigilant for potential flair ups and infections.
Max’s most pressing goal in life was to meet Mickey Mouse. This little firecracker is always smiling and adores Pixar movies. Hamm, the piggy bank from Toy Story and Lightning McQueen from Cars are his favorite characters. Max loves pizza, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), and would like his very own gum ball machine. When he grows up, Max wants to either be the Hulk or an Ohio State football player.
Kids Wish Network threw Max a special party to reveal the surprise that he was being granted his dream trip to Disneyworld. With the help of Rudy’s Smokehouse and Ohio Turtle Fan, an amazing Mickey Mouse themed private dinner celebration was held in Max’s honor. Then, his favorite TMNT characters arrived to deliver the news about Max’s upcoming once in a lifetime experience.
The welcoming staff at WorldQuest Orlando Resort greeted Max and his family upon their arrival in Orlando. The hotel offered picturesque views from their private suite and even left them snacks to munch on after a long day of traveling. The next few days were a whirlwind of park hopping fun and adventures throughout Disneyworld. Max’s lifelong dream of meeting Mickey Mouse was fulfilled, and he even had some special one on one time with Pluto and Goofy after a delicious dinner at the Garden Grove. While in town, Max also made a visit to Orlando’s newest attractions at I-Drive 360, home of the 400-foot Orlando Eye, Sea Life Aquarium and Madame Tussauds. Max explored the oceans of the world and encountered over 5,000 creatures at Sea Life Aquarium. Then he boarded the iconic Orlando Eye observation ferris wheel for breathtaking views of the Orlando skyline, theme parks, lakes, and lush landscape. Ending their trip, Max and his family toured Madame Tussauds where he pretended to shoot hoops with the Orlando Magic basketball team. Kids Wish Network also made sure that Max received that gumball machine he was dreaming of and a signed letter from the Ohio State athletic department expecting to see him at football tryouts in another 14 years.
The entire trip was a dream come true for Max. The experience made him feel extra special and provided his family the opportunity to simply spend quality time together without worrying about Max’s health. “You’ve allowed us to briefly forget the hardships we’ve experienced. This trip gave us amazing memories that we will carry with us forever! We had an amazing time, and we owe it all to Kids Wish Network,” said Max’s mom, Katie.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make Max’s dream come true:
• Garden Grove
• Bahama Breeze Island Grille
• I-Drive 360
• Merlin’s Magic Wand
• Madame Tussauds
• Sea Life Aquarium
• The Orlando Eye
• Compassion Partners
• WorldQuest Orlando Resort
• Rudy’s Smokehouse
• Ohio Turtle Fan