Xavier, 5, has the most contagious smile. When he flashes his wide, open-mouthed grin, you can’t help but beam right back at him.
Born premature at 27 weeks, Xavier has a complicated medical history that has left him without a diagnosis. Xavier cried most hours of the day when he first came home from the hospital. Today, he is ventilator-dependent (actively weaning up to 10 hours a day) and learning to connect with his world.
Last summer, Xavier’s Clinical Manager submitted an application to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a wish granting organization, on his behalf.
“Everyone deserves a vacation,” his Clinical Manager says.
Xavier and his family chose Walt Disney World. Why? Not only is it “the happiest place in the world,” but it was Xavier’s parents, Lisette and Frank, dream vacation for their family. They finally had their chance!
The Magical World of Disney
Xavier’s trip was filled with light shows, amusement rides, swimming and splashing in the pool, and posing with various Disney characters, including Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy.
“He loved the swimming pool and was giggling during every ride,” Lisette recalls.
To make their “dream vacation” truly perfect, Xavier and his family received a special pass to the amusement park so they never had to wait in line.
Xavier and his parents traveled to Disney with two of his full-time nurses. Lisette is still thankful for their support. “Our nurses helped make this dream happen for Xavier.”
Traveling with Xavier could have been difficult, but Lisette and her family planned ahead and stayed calm. “Everything went fine,” Lisette recalls.
In addition to packing Xavier’s supplies, equipment, and medications, Lisette was prepared for even the small details. For example, calling TSA in advance so they didn’t have to walk through the metal detectors with Xavier’s programmable ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP shunt).
“I am so proud of how strong he has become!” Lisette continues, “He’s more alert and making connections every day.”
Now, if Xavier sees a water bottle or food, he opens his mouth. Connections like these occur daily.
Above all, Xavier is teaching everyone around him to enjoy life—and not take anything for granted.
Do you want to help make a child’s dream come true?
Submit a Make-A-Wish application or donate your frequent flier miles here. During the month of April, United Airlines will match up to four million miles with your frequent flier miles donation.