A Ticket to Disney
First, let’s count the number of kids who went to Disney. Wish kid Tyler, diagnosed with a life-threatening seizure disorder, is just one of 351 kids who sported his Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World buttons during a trip to the Disney resorts this past year. When a wish child like Tyler wears Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World buttons at the Disney parks, fun adventures are right around the corner. Give Kids the World has been giving out buttons since its opening in 1989. With the buttons, wish kids are treated like royalty. For a week, they are not limited to certain activities because of their medical condition. They are given exciting opportunities that they never had before. Not only do the buttons allow them to move to the front of the lines, packing even more fun into their wish week, but they can also get extra pictures and autographs with the characters. Perhaps even a few extra surprises!
Tyler’s mom wrote us about the life-changing experience her son had during his wish trip to Walt Disney World®.
“It was a week where we did not have to worry about anything,” she said. “[It was a] week of feeling like a star with royal treatment. Interesting enough, Ty hardly had any seizures there vs. several a day average. Everything was taken care of for us. We could relax, have fun and just enjoy each other. Tons of special memories that will last a lifetime.”
Wish kid Shawn and his family also had a similar experience. Shawn’s mom said the feeling when they got to go to the front of the lines was indescribable.
“It certainly was one of the many things about the trip that couldn't be bought,” she said. “I'm sure we got to see and do at least twice as much as other guests at the parks. Also, my son fatigues easily and has heat intolerance so standing in long lines would have been out of the question so this truly helped to make the experience unforgettable. This was such a wonderful gift and made both of my children happier than you could imagine.”
A Ticket to Hawaii
We’ve also counted another 161 kids’ Make-A-Wish buttons that were the ticket to other travel destinations. A Make-A-Wish button is recognizable to many airport staff and airline crew members. It’s their ticket to board first and tour the cockpit and sometimes, even extra special attention at their hotels.
Austin is one of those kids. While in Hawaii, his family proudly wore their Make-A-Wish buttons throughout a trip that they described as a “dream.” From the hotel accommodations to the staff service, Austin and his family were blown away by everyone’s generosity and kindness. Austin was finally given the chance to leave his illness behind and enjoy a stress-free and educational week on the beautiful island.
“It was a week our family will not forget,” said Austin's mom.
A Ticket to Shopping Sprees
Make-A-Wish buttons can also lead to special experiences on shopping sprees when sales staff recognize wish kids. A total of sixty-three wish kids
went on shopping sprees and had wish parties last year, including wish kid Pearl. Because of her cancer diagnosis and treatments, eight-year-old Pearl has many restrictions on what she can do. She can't travel, swim in a public pool, ride in an airplane or go on a roller coaster. She can't even play near other kids for too long so she doesn't risk getting sick. But Make-A-Wish gave her the opportunity to do something she can -- shop to her heart's content
. With her Make-A-Wish button pinned to her pink outfit, Pearl enjoyed a day at Walmart and Build-A-Bear Workshop. To end her magical day, Pearl headed to Chuck E. Cheese in Bridgeville, PA -- her first time at a restaurant. Her day was a time to be able to focus on what she could do and to wish her cancer away.
We're Still Counting
In the last 32 years, 16,000 wish kids were given the opportunity to have Make-A-Wish buttons. That includes 700 wish kids last year. Want to help us keep on counting buttons? Refer a child, volunteer or make a donation. Your gift will help give a deserving child an experience that they will never forget.