A wish has the incredible potential to bring joy and happiness to an ill child, and to his or her family as well. This was so true for 4-year-old Deegan
, who has been in and out of the hospital many times, despite his young age, as a result of a congenital illness known as aciduria. When wish-granting volunteers came to see him and offered to grant him his most heartfelt wish, there was no doubt what it would be: A trip to the Walt Disney World®
Resort was on the top of the list, because of his love for Mickey Mouse. Where else would you go to see Mickey and friends other than the magical world of Disney?
Family and friends gathered to wish Deegan a fond farewell as he, his younger brother and his parents headed to the airport in a limo to begin their wonderful week. The limo alone made Deegan’s face light up as brightly as the Florida sun, and this was just the beginning. The family stayed in a resort villa at Give Kids the World, and mom says, “Deegan would have been content just to have that villa as his wish because it was bright and beautiful and he loved the Jacuzzi bathtub.” He was completely intrigued by the train ride and the resort’s enormous collection of miniature trains on display that he visited again and again. Deegan ate lots of ice cream, played in the pool and chilled out in the villa. And he celebrated his brother’s second birthday there.
At the Disney parks, Deegan especially loved the thrill of the roller coasters and insisted on riding them over and over. He rode any ride that was okay for his weight and height and loved it! An avid animal lover, Deegan adored Animal Kingdom, especially the big cats – tigers and lions. He also met the dolphins at Sea World®
. And of course he met Mickey Mouse and friends multiple times and posed for pictures with his favorite characters. Each time he saw Mickey Mouse was as big of a thrill as the time before. The castle enchanted him and the fireworks were mesmerizing, bringing smile after smile and bursts of laughter from Deegan.
The weather was warm and balmy, making each day even more perfect. The family enjoyed a respite from health worries and years of stress. “That one week was a privilege for us,” mom emotionally describes. “Make-A-Wish®
did everything for us. They couldn’t have been better or more caring… Deegan has suffered so much in the four years of his little life and that one week was a blessing for him and for us. We will never forget what Make-A-Wish has done for our family.”
Wish granting volunteers: Elaine Rupp & Stephanie Kowalski
Wish story writer: Deborah Davis