Over the past 3 years, I’ve been involved in fundraising for the Give Kids the World Village in Central Florida. I’ve written blog posts on various sites and attempted to share a few of the reasons why this special place touches my heart. Today, I want to share a letter from the Daddy of a little girl named Sereena. She received a trip to Give Kids the World through the Make a Wish foundation due to her battle with leukemia…
“Hello. My name is Jason Sperry and I just want to try to give you a little bit of what Give Kids the World has meant to me. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia in September 2010. This was the worst day of my life. My beautiful little princess who I cared for and protected from all of life’s terrible things was now in a situation that I had absolutely no control over. I was devastated to say the least but I knew I must remain strong for my daughter.
The next 8 months went by at a snail’s pace. We started with weekly visits to the hospital for chemotherapy and slowly advanced to bi-weekly and then to every 3 weeks and finally we hit the maintenance phase of only going in every 4 weeks. It was at this time that Make a Wish approached my daughter Sereena and asked her to think about the one thing she would really like to do. It took her all of about 5 minutes to come up with the answer of going to Disney! After all she is a princess! Well the plans were made and the date was set. All we had to do now is hope that her blood counts would stay good enough to keep her out of the hospital and we would be on her dream trip.
The day for the trip came, the blood counts were great and the limo was waiting. Sereena’s smile lit up the city that day. I was so happy that we had to drive to an out of town airport instead of the one that was only 20 min away because as Sereena put it “all modern princesses travel by limo!” We got to the airport, hoped in the plane and were off to a place we knew little about. We had seen the brochure and looked at the website but nothing could prepare us for what truly is the most amazing place on earth, Give Kids the World Village.
We pulled into the village and were greeted promptly. The volunteers were amazing from the start and only got better as the week went on. This was the first time the trip turned from Sereena’s into the whole family’s. They stressed that this week the whole family needed to take a break and not worry about a thing. Anything we could want or need was only a phone call away. They weren’t kidding! The volunteers at Give Kids the World are the best.
We stayed there for a week and did all the things that most visitors do. We went to the theme parks! This is the reason we went in the first place. Well I’m here to tell you that after 2 days of theme parks little miss Sereena was wore out. She didn’t want to leave the village again. Now is when the magic of this place really started showing up. We went to the ice cream parlor we had heard so much about. Unlimited ice cream all day long. Who doesn’t love that? We went to Dino putt-putt. Yep, Sereena beat me pretty bad that day. We went to the arcade and did the horse back riding. The all access pool and water park was one of her favorites. Mayor Clayton’s birthday party and even Village Idol! We did everything the Village has to offer but there is one building in the village that I am forever thankful for because it brought such joy to my daughter! The Castle of Miracles! Sereena would have stayed in here from sun up till sun down every day of the week. She had a nail salon, all the coloring books and crayons she could ever want, a tree that was magic and could make pillows, a wishing well, a ceiling full of stars with names, and to top it all off there was even a carousel to ride on! Ya, Sereena was in heaven at The Castle of Miracles and so was I just seeing the joy it brought to her.
I will forever be grateful for the wonderful and truly inspirational time that we had at Give Kids the World Village. This one week of care free life that was given to us after the 8 months of total chaos that we went through before hand was such a relief. Talking to the volunteers and other guests really gave me that extra push I needed to be strong for Sereena in her final 17 months of chemotherapy. I never knew a place like this existed and now that I do I will never forget it! We are planning a return trip there, only this time we will be volunteers and will hope that Sereena’s story of survival will help some other families at Give Kids the World Village who just need that little bit of positive reinforcement.
I hope you’ll consider helping other families experience the happiness that inspires hope at Give Kids the World.
Every little bit helps and we’ll be visiting the Village in 10 short days: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/DisneyFansGKTW/2012
Thank you and God Bless!