This guest blog post was written by Shania, BSN, RN, who has worked with Paul (age 8) for almost four years. Shania and two of our other nurses recently traveled with Paul and his family to help Paul experience Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation®.
This is the story of Paul’s wish told from the perspective of one of his very own nurses! To read more about Paul, click here.
Off to Neverland!
The day started off like any other day with Paul getting his respiratory treatment while watching cartoons. At first glance, it seemed like his usual routine but all around him everyone was enthusiastically making preparations. In a few short hours, Paulie would be taking a trip of a lifetime!
Paulie’s entire family, along with three of his nurses, accompanied him on his first airplane ride. As the plane ascended into the air, we were all a little nervous anticipating how Paulie’s body and respiratory system would react to the higher altitude. Prepared to intervene, we were all hoping for the best.
Amazingly enough, Paul’s first plane ride was a success! A huge part the smooth ride was due to the staff at United Airlines who went above and beyond to help accommodate Paul’s needs. After the flight, Paulie even got to meet the captain and was presented with his own pilot wing badge!
A Whole New World
After checking into our new home for the next week, Give Kids the World, a community that caters to Make-A-Wish children, we were ready to experience Disney!
Our first destination was to the magnificent castle, and then we were off to view a parade of Paulie’s favorite Disney characters and friends. From Donald Duck to Goofy, each of the characters introduced themselves to the awestruck Paulie, until he finally reached his favorite characters: Diego and Dora. Diego jumped right off the parade float and hugged Paul!
While this may seem like a dream come true, Paulie’s wish was just getting started. After touring the Magical Kingdom, Paulie was immediately transported to a world of adventure at Universal Studios. There, he got the thrill of a lifetime on his first ride with the Minions. Next, he met his favorite super heroes. It was quite a sight to see Paulie side-by-side with Spider-man whose mask he donned on a previous Halloween!
When You Wish Upon a Star
One of my favorite moments of the trip is the day Paulie went to visit the Castle of Miracles. As we stepped through the gigantic door, I caught a glimpse of the ceiling and was momentarily speechless! What appeared on the ceiling were thousands of glittering stars. We learned that each of the stars represents every child who visits the castle, Paulie now included!
I then watched as Paulie was presented with his very own golden star. With help from his sister, Jacqui, Paul carefully wrote his name on his star. After inserting his star into the “Star Fairy Box,” Paul watched as the Star Fairy appeared, seemingly out of thin air, to take his star and find a special spot on the castle ceiling.
As we looked for his star, I reflected about how the castle is connected to Paul’s entire life up to this moment. Paul’s will to live, despite all the medical setbacks and complications has been a miracle; the technology and skilled nursing that allow patients to stay at home with their family is a miracle; and, the biggest miracle of all, his mom’s determination and love to do everything to make this trip come true.
Once Upon A Dream
As Paul’s trip came to an end, Paul’s family and nurses were overwhelmed with joy. This trip was everything Paul had imagined.
Here’s what his nurses and family had to say:
Jaime, RN, revealed that “sharing this experience with Paulie was amazing. [It was a] once in a lifetime trip and I felt honored to be included to help Paulie’s wish come true!”
Jessie, RN, says she felt “honored to have been part of Paul’s trip to Disney World. It was so exciting to see all of his firsts: his first plane ride, his first time meeting his favorite character, Diego, his first time on a ride, and watching the parade at Magic Kingdom.”
Irene, Paul’s mom, recalls how after Paul met the Disney characters, one of the nurses asked how his trip could possibly get any better? She answers: “Everything we did turned out to be a magical moment for him. It felt like each day kept getting better and better.”
There were so many incredible people who took the time to make every second of Paul’s trip more meaningful. Surrounded by the love of his family, he was able to create many lasting memories.
Thank you to the staff of Independence Plus who advocated for this trip and supported the family to provide a safe and fun experience for Paul who has overcome so many obstacles. Another thank you to Paul’s family for allowing us—his nurses—to be a part of this extraordinary chapter in his life.
We are all very grateful to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for providing this opportunity to make all of Paulie’s dreams come true.
We have a feeling that this little guy has plenty more adventures to look forward to in the nearby future!
To view more of Paul’s Disney World photos, go to our Facebook page!