A young boy with a critical illness now has the chance to live out his dream of travelling to Walt Disney World Resort on an all-expenses paid trip with his family courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The news was given to 14-year-old Isaac Wease in a surprise reveal at Elmira Bowl last Saturday. Joining Isaac for the vacation will be his mother Amanda, father Kevin, and his younger sister Adelaide.
“We’re so excited,” said Amanda. “Isaac loves rides, and he loves swimming and just having fun. He’s a joyful boy, and he just brings so much joy and love into our family.”
In particular, they are looking forward to the nice break from the cold weather, amusement park rides and seeing their favourite Disney characters. Extended relatives joined the Wease family for bowling after the Disneyland announcement, with three lanes donated by Elmira Bowl for the day.
They are set to depart for the warmer weather of Orlando, Florida on January 25, and arrive back on February 2. They currently have no concrete plans set in place for the weeklong journey.
“We’ll make plans and schedule, and then be prepared to throw the schedule out,” joked Kevin. They previously visited Disneyland (Animal Kingdom) for just one day before, so now will be the opportunity to enjoy the area for a longer period of time.
Isaac was born with L1 Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects his nervous system. In particular, it can cause issues with muscle stiffness of the lower limbs. It is also characterized by hydrocephalus, a neurological condition that causes an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain. He had to have brain surgery when he was just two years old.
It occurs in varying severity almost exclusively in males, affecting approximately in one of every 30,000 births.
Isaac’s mother said that the inspiration to apply for Make-A-Wish came through connecting with other families with children who have the same illness.
“Last winter, we’re in a Facebook group because Isaac’s condition is so far, we only know around five other people in Canada who have this condition,” said Amanda Wease. “So we’re all in a Facebook group together, from all over the world – there are about 200 families.
“And a bunch of the children were getting sick and in the hospital, and even a few of them passed away. That made us realize that it’s time to make some memories and that life is short, and no one ever knows what’s coming over the bend. So we have to enjoy the time we have together.”
The Make-A-Wish program’s Brittany Kinchen said the wish grant often provides families with a much-needed change of scenery.
“I think helping a family go away for a week allows them to forget about the hospitals and medical treatments, and things like that,” said Kinchen. “It gives them a very positive experience to bond together as a family.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with critical illnesses. In 2018, the southwestern chapter of the organization granted 95 wishes, and are working with 160 families at the moment.
The wishes fall into four categories: I wish to go, I wish to meet, I wish to be, or I wish to have.
“There are a lot of travel wishes, meeting celebrities, having gaming computers or playground equipment, princess parties, things like that. Walt Disney is our most common wish,” said Kinchen. “We try to personalize that wish experience for every child and their family to make sure it’s special.”