For three-year-old Joseph and his family, his wish to go to Disney World wasn’t just a trip, it was an experience that was truly once-in-a-lifetime.
Diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis right after he turned two, Joseph ‘s world was turned upside down. Everyday activities shifted from playing with his brothers to routine visits to the hospital for check-ups and treatments. It was a rough time to say the least, but the strength of his family carried him through.
With the support of three older brothers and two strong parents, Joseph always felt loved and protected. Despite all the new challenges and pain that came with his condition, he always knew that his mom, dad and brothers would be there to comfort them in their arms and give him unconditional love.
This family’s bond was already unbreakable, but his wish brought them even closer together. Disney World turned out to be the perfect break for the family - a break from the hospital and all the worries and stress that they had endured for almost a year.
A week of “YES”
To truly make this trip special, Joseph’s mom decided that this would be the week of “YES”. Because of Joseph’s condition, her answer for the past year to many questions was “no”, but not this week! This week was all about fun and enjoying this gift that was given to them without any worries or second-guessing. A trip to Walmart at 12:00 a.m.? Sure! Ice Cream at 8:00 a.m.? Why not!? It was every kid’s dream, but it was also something they all deserved and needed – to let loose and just have fun.
Something Truly Magical
The experience was “amazing” as Joseph’s dad described. Disney World, SeaWorld, Dinosaur World and Give Kids the World provided the family with memories of joy and laughter to last forever. For Christie, Joseph’s mom, the best part of it all was seeing her kids having fun and just being silly boys again.
“My favorite moment of the whole wish experience was watching my kids. Watching them play, watching them have fun. It wasn’t just about Joseph, it was about everybody – all of us felt special."
It was an escape – a time to forget about the doctors, treatments and everything that needed to be done at home. “Joseph didn’t ask if he had to go to the doctors once during the entire trip. Except when he was getting a stick on tattoo, but I told him no this is not the doctor’s, this is just fun!”
Everything was perfect. After all the challenges they experienced, Joseph's family felt that his wish was their "time to heal as a family". "This was our time for uplifting", said Christie. "Now we can look forward and rejoice in this blessing.”