When we first met (then 3-year-old) Carter at A Wishing Place, he was very timid and shy. After all, he had just recently come out of the hospital and thought maybe this visit was going to be like the hospital one. He soon realized that A Wishing Place was a fun place and hopefully he would declare a wish that would magically come true!
At Carter's declaration, Nikki and I thought we would have some of Carter's favorite foods as he was being tube fed at that time and there was little that he actually could eat. His favorite thing to eat was Ranch dressing. His mom said he put it on everything and even drank it right from the bottle. So that, along with crackers, licorice and some ice cream was served. After playing a game and asking many questions Carter definitely decided he would like to go to Walt Disney World Resort. Carter was so excited to open the door with his key and was amazed at what he saw when he walked in. He carefully placed his wish in the container and off it went to the Wishing Wizard. Now the wait.......
Nikki and I wanted to surprise Carter with his proclamation that his wish came true so we rented a Mickey Mouse costume (just like the one at Disney World) and Nikki's husband put it on and off we went to Carter's house. We put together a paper chain to help Carter count down the days until his trip. When we first arrived at his house, Carter was a little afraid, but as soon as Mickey starting giving him balloons and presents he warmed up to his special guest. Carter looked at him in amazement and said, “He really has big ears!!”
When the day finally came for his trip, I met Carter's family at the airport and luckily was able to escort them to the gate. Carter looked sad and when I asked what was wrong he said, "I forgot to cut the last chain off”. I told him it was okay, that he was supposed to keep the last one as a souvenir, so he grabbed my hand and off we ran to see the plane he was going to fly on. The crew was so nice; the Delta Captain let Carter sit in his seat and even wear his hat. The look on his face as he pretended to fly the plane was priceless.
K.C. Williams, the balloon man, was so nice to volunteer his time and come help us out. Each child's balloon that he made was so special and he really interacted with each child in the process. We also watched a short video that chronicled Carter's journey - from the day we met him up to his trip to Disney World.
But the best moment was the look on his face as he raised his special star up toward the sky. He couldn't take his eyes off of it after that.
This was such a rewarding experience for me and I was so lucky to have Nikki Jeske as my wish partner. She is a wish mom herself and having been through this with her own child, she knew exactly what the family was going through and was able to answer so many Disney questions they had.
Carter is a very special little boy and Nikki and I were so lucky to be able to help make his wish come true. He will be in our hearts forever.
-submitted by Jan Schalla, Volunteer Wish Granter