Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Daniel's Wish

Meet my new friend Daniel. He's 12 years old, a Boy Scout, a home schooler, and a pretty funny guy. He's also been battling leukemia.

Sheila here, and Daniel is one of the reasons my family is walking this Saturday in the Make A Wish Foundation's Walk for Wishes at Sawyer Point, which makes wishes come true for kids like Daniel.

I got to know Daniel when he and his mom came down to the Fox 19 studios from the West Chester area to promote the Walk, and I shot a commercial with them afterward. Daniel made fun of me and his mom when we messed up our lines, so I really gave it to him when he finally had his own blooper!

Daniel and his family will be at the Walk too. You could say they're paying it forward, because Make A Wish made Daniel's wish come true when he really needed something happy in his life. For kids with leukemia and other life threatening illnesses, life is filled with doctor visits, hospital stays, and painful treatments. Most of us can only imagine the emotional toll on their moms and dads, brothers and sisters. Make A Wish helps these families escape from the reality of illness for awhile.

Daniel's escape was a trip to Disney World. His mom says their family would never have been able to swing this vacation on their own, considering the medical expenses they've been facing with Daniel's illness. When Make A Wish steps in, families like theirs don't have to worry about a thing. Volunteers take care of flights, hotels, expenses, even passports if they're needed for overseas trips, and the family can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Daniel told me his favorite part of the Disney experience was Give Kids The World Village -- a 70-acre resort in Orlando that's specifically designed for children with special needs. It has accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues, and lots and lots of fun things to do. Daniel liked the fact that he could get ice cream anytime. With the support of Walt Disney World, Give Kids The World has the ability to provide an amazing experience at all four of the beloved Walt Disney World parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Each family member and the Wish Child receives three-day park hopper tickets for free, and Wish kids always go to the front of the line. Walt Disney World's favorite characters visit twice a week, and there's a lot more to make the Wish kids feel like royalty while they are there.

Of course, all of these wonderful things take money, and that's where the Walk for Wishes comes in. I hope you will walk with us this Saturday at Sawyer Point. Signup starts at 7:30 a.m., and the walk is at 9:00. And if you can't be there, please donate a dollar or two. Every bit adds up to help kids like my friend Daniel. Here are some links to help you learn more.

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