Kerry's Causes, Travel Tuesday

Make A Wish

Here we are again, on this Travel Tuesday, celebrating World Make A Wish Day. Every April 29th several landmarks in Toronto light up blue and white for seriously ill children everywhere. The CN Tower, Toronto City Hall, and Niagara Falls will be lit up in support. Several hospitals across the country have events planned for the children.

I owe a lot to this type of organization. I was considered one of those seriously ill children once.

I lay in my usual spot on the living room couch. That was where I spent most of my time in the spring of my twelfth year. We were getting a new fridge and that was exciting enough. Then one of my parents just happened to notice an advertisement on the back of a magazine. It was for an organization called Wish Kids. Why not. I was considered seriously ill and I qualified. This organization had a village for kids to go with their families in Orlando, Florida. We contacted them and soon we were planning a trip.

By autumn the trip was all planned. We would be sent, all six of us, down to Florida and be given an all-expenses paid vacation; all of the Disney parks and more were included. It was all set.

My sudden, unexpected, and alarming eye problems caused the trip to be postponed. We were all very disappointed.

It took a whole year to reschedule, but the man who ran the local chapter and my parents surprised us one evening by announcing that the trip was back on. By now my health was stable enough for things to move forward. We were off on the trip of a lifetime.

I look back on that week in the years since with fond memories. I am grown now and my family are spread out and doing their own thing. I miss the togetherness of those days and our week in sunny Florida.

I have reaped the benefit of being considered a seriously ill child three times now along with my brother, sent to Washington D.C. and California. It was through two other similar organizations to Make A Wish: Wish Kids and The Sunshine Foundation. All these groups do amazing things for sick children every single day. It is remarkable to me.

Having a disability or being ill all the time certainly has its drawbacks so why not take advantage of the rare benefits. It is hard having limitations. Of course we all have them, but being blind I know what mine are. These organizations make dreams come true and they give hope when sometimes it feels like there is very little.

Travel Tuesday

Travel Tuesday: April Fool’s

“I can’t find them,” my father said these four little words, and my stomach dropped out.
We were wide awake in the hotel room that morning, all ready to go to The Magic Kingdom, Disney World. We had been waiting for this day, my brothers and sister and myself, and now he was telling us he lost our park tickets. This was a cruel joke.
Actually , that’s exactly what it was. My father was never one for playing a lot of pranks on his children or anyone else, so this was unexpected in itself, even if it just so happened to be April first and April Fool’s Day.
We were on our family vacation to Florida; two whole weeks touring around the state in our mini van, sleeping on a bed of blankets my mother made on the floor. The middle seat had been removed, a definite no-no in this day and age.
It was the best moment of my eight-year-old life when, at supper one evening, my parents blurted out that they were taking us to Florida. I remember, all these years later, that amazing feeling when they told us the news.
I have been lucky to go to Florida three times in my life: once as a child, again as a teenager, and once more last year. I know a lot of it is the hype of the world of Mickey Mouse, but it is an experience not to be missed out on at least once. As an eight-year-old I was terrified of a lot of the rides and as an adult a lot of The Magic Kingdom and the other parks wouldn’t interest me, but it is a right-of-passage and I really do believe all children should experience Disney at least once. It is a place of magic and thrills. I treasure the memories made there with my siblings and my parents.
I would sit with my mother while my father and older sister and brother would go on certain rides, but they eventually talked me into going on Space Mountain. I vowed never to ride on anything that went up-side-down, but they assured me this one did not.
I sat, tense and biting my fingernails down, so far that the skin around them became red and raw. As we reached the middle of the ride it suddenly broke down and a huge feeling of relief washed over me.
We were informed that the ride had broken down and our only option was to get out and walk back through the mountain and to please enjoy the rest of our day at Magic Kingdom.
As we walked down the rock steps and through the mountain, I wore my Daisy Duck souvenir hat proudly and happily. This couldn’t have gone better. It must have been magic that worked to save me from the terror of that roller coaster.
I tell these stories fondly, the first being fitting for today, it being April Fools and all. I retell it, not wanting to harp too much on the past, but as an adult and even as a child I’ve wondered what possessed my father to play such a horrible prank on his poor little excited children. Was my mother in on it too and had they been planning it since the inception of the trip? They really are amazing parents and I try not to hold such small infractions against them. That really was an epic April Fool’s Day joke and very deserving to be remembered, aptly timed and the worst possible thing that could have befallen my siblings and myself in that moment.
What is the cruellest April Fools joke you ever played on someone or had played on you?