â€œLife Lessonsâ€¦one Disney Movie Line at a time.â€
“Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight…”
Try to imagine a child whose illness prevents them from enjoying their childhood, from doing the things so many of us take for granted.Â Imagine a child whose weekly routine includes a steady regimen of medicine, needles, treatments and pain instead of ballet, baseball and soccer practice.Â Imagine a family that would do anything to ease their childâ€™s pain, to make their child smile, to make their childâ€™s dream come true.Â For so many families, these unthinkable odds are a reality.
I have a group of very special friends who love spreading pixie dust as much as I do.Â It
is through this group of friends that I learned about this amazing place near Orlando called Give Kids The World (and you thought I was going to say Disney World, didnâ€™t you?).
Give Kids The World exists solely to fulfill the wishes of children with life-threatening
illnesses and their families, providing them a memorable, magical experience that will live in their hearts for years to come.Â No child in need has ever been turned away.Â And through donations of caring people around the world, no child ever will.
I had the extreme privilege of visiting GKTW Village with my pixie dust-spreading
friends last year.Â As part of our tour, we visited the Castle of Miracles where I stood speechless looking at the thousands of gold stars on the ceiling.
Â You see, when a Wish Child arrives at GKTW, they receive a golden star along with an invitation from the Star Fairy to bring the star to the Enchanted Castle of Miracles.Â They write their name on the star, close their eyes, make one very special wish, and then place the star in the Star Fairyâ€™s wooden chest with a promise that the Star Fairy will gather
up all of the stars each day and place them in the Castle sky that night.Â For some children, that wish may be to feel well enough to go to Disney World during their stay.Â For others it may be to make it through their trip.Â As grim as this thought is, some children donâ€™t make it home.
As you can imagine, the children canâ€™t wait to return the next day to look for their star.Â Those stars hold so much for the families of those children.Â For those families whose precious ones are taken way too early, they return for years to come to visit those stars.
During my last trip to Disney, Reagan and I were getting on the monorail to head back to the Magic Kingdom.Â A family of five got on with us.Â I noticed that the man had a Guest Assistance Card hanging from his neck.Â I saw that the little boy next to his mom was completely bald but had the biggest, most beautiful smile on his face.Â He looked to be about six years old.Â I heard his Mom mention something about â€œthe villageâ€ and my ears
I asked her if they were staying at Give Kids the World and she said yes.Â She immediately started telling me about what an amazing place it was and how much it meant to their family.Â She talked about it during the entire ride over, and I could tell how much it truly meant to them. Â That week would forever change their lives.Â I wanted to give her a hug, and I wanted to tell her about our efforts, but I didnâ€™t want her to feel even remotely obligated to say thank you. Â I just listened to a mom who obviously needed that trip as I cried behind my sunglasses.
My special group of pixie dust spreading friends are returning to GKTW on September 30th.Â At that time, weâ€™ll present them with a check as part of our fundraising efforts.Â Itâ€™s
a very emotional trip.Â As I look up at all of the stars on the ceiling in the Castle of Miracles and think of all the children who have written their names on those stars, held them tight and made their wishes (“Star light, star bright.Â First star I see tonight.Â I wish I may, I wish I might.Â Have the wish I wish tonight”) before placing them in the Star Fairyâ€™s wooden chest, I feel blessed and humbled to have had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some truly deserving families.
If youâ€™d like to help make the wish of these children come true, please visit ourÂ fundraising page at: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/DisneyFansGKTW/2012Â .
Â From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
Written by fellow Disney Mom & dear friend: Allison V. Allison is a proud member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. She is not a Disney employee. The postings on this site are her own and do not necessarily represent Disney’s positions or opinions.