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With Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust, Many Things Are Possible

Many years ago, when we lived in Orlando, I got a phone call from a friend in New Jersey.  She was coming to Orlando, all expenses paid, and was hoping to catch up with me.

How wicked awesome, I thought!  A fully paid trip to Orlando – theme park tickets, accommodations, airfare!  What do you have to do to score a vacation package like that?

I had not yet heard of Give Kids the World.  I knew, of course, that seriously ill children were often granted wishes to visit Walt Disney World, but I had no idea that such a place like the Give Kids the World Village existed.  When my Jersey friend finally did arrive, I learned that she and her family had been flown down to celebrate what may have been a final vacation with her granddaughter, who had leukemia.

I was overwhelmed by the information she shared about Give Kids the World Village.  I was bowled over by her description of the fairytale like atsmosphere and the amazing people who volunteered at the Village.  And I knew that somehow, I wanted to be a part of it all.

Throughout the years that we lived in Central Florida, I often visited the Give Kids the World website to browse their wish list, and Brighid and I would gather some things and deliver them to the Village.  It felt like something so small, but then in 2009, when I became a member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, I felt like I had bonded with a group of people so amazing, so magical, so filled with pixie dust that they would understand my love and passion for the children at the Village.

We were small but mighty that first year.  We raised in the area of $1500, which we donated to be used in a memorial garden.  The day that we made our donation, we were fortunate enough to be granted a tour of the Village.  We visited the salon, where beautiful princesses are created.  We stopped by the ice cream parlor, where even for breakfast, ice cream is an option.  We saw the cozy cottages and the awesome playgrounds.  There was nothing here that would make anyone think this was a place for sick kids; it was a place for kids – with everything a child could dream that would transport them away – even for just a short time – from the daily routine of doctors, nurses, needles, and medicines.

The mantle has passed on, and my Mom friends are still doing all they can not only to raise money for this wonderful organization, but to bring attention to the incredible work they do.  We want you, in some small way, to feel like we felt when we toured the Village – where we were not only impacted by how happy a place they have made it, but where we were overcome with sadness in seeing the number of stars that blaze a trail in the skyin one of the buildings in memory of every child that has passed through the Village.  We want you to know how many of us were reduced to tears as we stood awkwardly silent in the chapel, where so many Moms and Dads stood before us, praying for the lives of their precious children; and thanking God and the Village for the chance to be a normal family – if only for a week. 

I have personally known children who have visited the Village through the years.  Some are grown now, possessing just a fading memory of a childhood where innocence was replaced with illness.  Some will remain forever children, as they were taken Home to bloom in the gardens of Heaven. 

But all of them – and their families – will have treasured memories of the magic, the memories, and the pixie dust that they shared in one incredible week at this amazing place.

We would love it if you joined us in supporting the magic and the memories created by Give Kids the World.  Please consider “Liking” our Facebook page, and share it with your friends, so that even more people become aware of the Village and the amazing work they do.  Visit the page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/DisneyFansGKTW and click “LIKE” at the top!

And if you can, please consider making a donation to the Village through the webpage my friends have established.  With faith, trust, and pixie dust, many things are possible.  There’s a smile to be had with every dollar that is donated.  There is nothing more magical than that! http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/DisneyFansGKTW/reunion

Doctor Assisted Suicide – Death With Dignity or Death Without Responsibility?

I was still basking in the glow of the April 16th arrival of my third beautiful baby girl when at the end of May, my stepmother called me.  She was at the hospital with my dad, and he was refusing all further medical treatment.  They were transferring him to hospice, and I could meet them there.

My dad had been sick for a very long time.  If I don’t count the years that he dealt with his diabetes in fairly good health, it was probably a good ten years that my dad suffered the effects of the disease that eventually led to his death.  When consulting with his doctors about ending the dialysis he was on when his transplanted kidney failed, they told him that they could continue to treat him, but they would be keeping him alive only for him to continue being sick.

That was okay with me.

When I met my dad at hospice, it was all I could do to get words out of my mouth to tell him how desperately I didn’t want him to do this.  He had, after all, a brand new grandbaby at home that he’d barely gotten to meet.  It had only been two years since my sister died, and although 24 months seems a long time, the pain was raw and my father’s decision made a healing wound feel like new again.  He needed to be there to see Eilis get bigger, to see Brighid graduate.  I didn’t want him to die, and I thought he was being selfish.  How dare he want to end his suffering and leave us all behind, living with the pain and suffering his loss would cause.  How dare he?


My dad holds Granuaile for the first time, in his bed at hospice

I watched a documentary yesterday on Oregon’s Death with Dignity law, and as confused as I was before on the topic, I am even more so now that I’ve seen the documentary.  Don’t we all just want to drift off to sleep when it’s our time to go?  Don’t we all want a chance to make our peace with people and things here in this life before passing on to the next?

So why do I feel so awful?

Perhaps it is that I’ve felt the pain that is left behind when someone chooses death over whatever time they can get with the people who love them.  It might be the fact that one woman in the show very nearly ended her life a full six months before she truly began suffering the horrible effects of the cancer to which she eventually would have succumbed.  Even more, I KNOW that it was the man on state funded health insurance who was told that the coverage wouldn’t pay for additional cancer treatment to extend his life, but they would pay for assisted suicide.  How’s that for a “Here’s your hat; what’s your hurry?” attitude?

How responsible is assisted suicide?  Is fear of pain and dependency causing people to make a choice that, if the opportunity presented itself, they would regret?  And how responsible is a society that allows insurance to cover medication for someone who wants to kill themselves, but not cover medication and treatment that might have given them the extra few months they craved with their children and grandchildren?

I can’t believe how torn I am on the topic of Death with Dignity.  It seems like one of those things you shouldn’t be on the fence about, but here I am.  I would never want to see someone suffer, but with death comes suffering – if not for the person who crosses over, at least for those of us left behind.

Give Kids the World – Where Magic Lives

In 2009, when I first joined the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, I thought it was an awesome opportunity to raise awareness for an organization that I have always thought was one of the most amazing on the planet.  Can you imagine this – you are the parents of a very sick child, and every day of your life is filled with doctors, nurses, needles, medicine, schedules, treatments.  There is no playing outside, soaking up sunshine, relaxing, smiling.

Our First Giant Check!



Then someone calls you and tells you that your family will be receiving an all expenses paid trip for a week at the Most Magical Place on Earth.  I know – you think it’s Disney World – but it’s not.  It’s Give Kids the World.  Families relax in fabulous accommodations; are provided with theme park tickets to places like Disney, Sea World, and Universal; and treated to a week full of smiles, laughing, and playing – all those things kids are supposed to be doing!



Each star represents the wish of a seriously ill child

You know now why Give Kids the World is the charity that the Moms and I chose to support.  As moms, how could we NOT be a part of the daily sprinkling of pixie dust that takes place at Give Kids the World?

For the third year, my amazing Disney loving Mom friends are raising money to support GKTW.  Please take a minute to Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and DONATE!