Every morning at 7:30 a.m., the Ice Cream Palace at Give Kids The World Village opens its doors. It’s probably been years since most adults had a hankering for ice cream that early, but then again this place isn’t really about adults. Here the focus is totally and completely on creating a haven where kids can let loose and run free. For wish kid Kennedy, 11, her freedom came in the form of cold ice cream and a heated pool.
“We got free ice cream whenever we wanted,” Kennedy said. “And we got to go swimming whenever we wanted! And the pool was warm!”
Kennedy’s life-threatening hematologic disorder takes away from the privilege of a nonchalant “whatever and whenever” attitude in her daily life. It’s hard to do the things that kids love to do when you’re in and out of surgeries, transfusions and blood draws. Her wish trip to Walt Disney World® Resort was a break from those restrictions for Kennedy and her family.
“We didn’t have limitations,” Tamika, Kennedy’s mom, said. “This wish was about unity for my family. This allowed us all to enjoy life for a change and enjoy each other.”
When you’re walking through a life-sized Candy Land board, it’s hard to imagine that limits ever existed. If Disney and Give Kids The World Village know one thing, it’s how to create a world where families and kids can totally immerse themselves in imagination. That’s what Kennedy and her family loved about their wish trip. Without the stress of Kennedy’s illness weighing so heavy on their minds, it was a time and a place where what mattered was being together and enjoying life.
“This wish allowed for a little girl who can’t do everything her peers or siblings can do, to be able to have fun and not worry,” Tamika said. “It allowed her to be special instead of different.”