BY MELANIE BUCK –
Three-year old Aurora Pitman is about to have her dreams come true. Aurora’s wish was to visit Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and thanks to Make A Wish Mid-South, she is doing just that. Aurora is the daughter of Charles and Neva Pitman of Mena. They, along with 10-year old Melanie, and 5-year old Olivia, left on Monday, November 28th for a week of family fun that will include much more than Disney World.
Aurora is a special needs child with a life expectancy of 6-12 years. “Aurora being a special needs child, we can’t go all places,” explained Charles. “While in Florida, we will get to visit Disney World, but we are actually more excited about visiting Give Kids the World Village, which is a place specifically for special needs families.” And indeed, a special place it is.
Give Kids the World Village is a 79-acre, non-profit resort that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The Village and its community partners provide children and their families accommodations in fully-furnished villas, transportation, tickets to theme parks, meals, daily entertainment, and more. “Give Kids the World Village deals with special needs children on a daily basis. They know you can’t travel with certain items and know that special accommodations are needed. There are too many limitations with a special needs child. This place helps with that. We shipped a box of things we will need and can’t take on the plane. They’ll have it waiting for us. That’s the kind of stuff they do on a daily basis,” Charles said.
According to their website, www.gktw.org, each year 27,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and half of all children eligible for a wish through a partnering wish-granting organization choose to visit Central Florida and its collection of theme parks and other attractions. “Our goal, quite simply, is to provide everything these deserving families need to make their trip the vacation of a lifetime. Since 1986, more than 146,000 children and families have had their dreams fulfilled in a whimsical Village unlike any other place on earth. When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, a family’s life changes forever. A trip to Give Kids The World Village gives families time together, inspiring a renewed sense of hope and happiness that lasts long after they return home.”
Charles said that his family is very excited and very thankful for Make-A-Wish Mid-South for providing the once in a lifetime experience. “I don’t like for people to give me stuff. My wife says I’m too proud, but it’s not just about taking our kids to Disney world, this is about Aurora. Aurora’s life expectancy is too short and these memories will last forever.”
You can read more about Aurora’s wish come true in an upcoming edition of The Pulse.