I don't know what to say or to think ...
It seems that Derek's dearest wish is going to come true . Derek is 11 years old, but he is also dying of muscular dystrophy. The disease has robbed him of his ability to walk and has made him grow weaker during the years since he was first diagnosed (at the age of four/five).
All Derek wants most of all is to visit the National Aeronautics And Space Administration building in Florida. He has always held a big interest in anything dealing with outer space. Anything to do with aliens, space ships, planets, the stars, the moon ... as long as it's space oriented, there's Derek on the computer, trying to get the latest information (one of his favorite sites to visit is www.spaceweather.com).
Well, a friend of mine contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is an organization that grants wishes for children who are dying or kids who have catastrophic illnesses. They receive thousands upon thousands of letters from parents or friends from all over the world, asking the organization to grant wishes before the children get too sick or die. It is really a good thing that they do.
The organization has fulfilled wishes including trips to exciting places (DisneyWorld and Disneyland are two of the more popular destinations for families and their sick/dying children), meeting favorite celebrities, and something simple as a shopping spree at a local Wal-Mart or Toys'R'Us.
It is a great way for families to "get away from it all" or to forget anything dealing with medical equipment, treatment, hospitals, or doctors/nurses. The child has a chance to act like himself (or herself), all the while, doing what they have always wanted to do (but were unable to, because of the illness/disability that the child is facing).
We received word the other day that the Make-A-Wish Foundation is going to fly Derek, myself, my husband, and our other children to Florida (for free), where Make-A-Wish representatives will meet us at the airport, then drive over to the NASA facilities, where Derek will see first hand what goes on; he will also get to see actual rockets or past shuttles that have flown into outer space. In addition to this, Derek will also get to try on an authentic space suit and will get to meet some past astronauts.
As you can imagine, Derek is beyond himself with joy. So are we. We will be leaving for Florida next month. We have already started packing and are trying to decide which clothes to take for "fun in the sun". It will be nice to get away from all this bitter cold and snow we've been having this winter (we live in upstate New York, right in the heart of the "Snow Belt")!
Well, I am going to put Derek to bed; he has school tomorrow. I just had to write and say that his dearest prayers are going to be answered; I had to share the good news with everybody! Oh, this is going to be so awesome, not only for us, but for Derek! He is going to live his dream!! This is so exciting!!
For more information: go to www.wish.org.