A dream come true

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Kids Wish Network grants a young girl’s wish to see Disneyland

By Kirsten Laskey

When Gabby Gonazles was just a baby, she was nominated by Beverly Henrietta, a former employee of ARK Child Developmen Center, to have Kids Wish Network grant one of her wishes.

It might seem like a stretch of the imagination to believe a small child’s wishes would be honored years later by a large organization.

But like a fairy godmother from a classic tale who waves her magic wand, Kids Wish Network recently fulfilled Gabby’s biggest desire.

Gabby, who is 4 years old, along with her parents and sister, Adrianna, 10, traveled to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., Aug. 19 for five days.

Her mother, Christy, explained that they had always wanted to travel to the theme park and were saving up for the trip.

The Kids Wish Network helped speed up the timetable for taking the vacation.

This, of course, delighted Gabby.

“She did jump up and down when we told her,” Christy said.

Gabby listed the Pinocchio and Snow White rides as among the highlights as well as Splash Mountain.

“We did it three times,” Christy said, in regards to this particular water ride.

The whole family got VIP treatment. Christy said they received a no wait pass so there was no need to stand in lines at any of the rides. Plus, Gabby got immediate access to all her favorite Disney characters.

Additionally, the family received $500 in cash from Kids Wish Network and several restaurants helped out the family.

To receive this special treatment, Christy explained an application needed to be filled out and then passed on to Gabby’s physician to verify that her condition is life-threatening.

Gabby has nephritic syndrome, which is a kidney disease. Her kidneys do not filter correctly, Christy said.

Gabby was diagnosed with this disease at the age of 1. She is currently on medication and had a biopsy performed. She has to take medication every 12 hours.

It’s a lot for anyone, let alone a 4-year-old to handle, but Gabby has proven to be a real trooper.

“She’s pretty good,” Christy said.

Gabby is currently in remission.

Being able to take this trip was a real treat, Christy said, because Kids Wish Network turned one of her daughter’s wishes into reality, something the family could not have done as easily.

Shelley Breiner, the director of the network, started Kids Wish 10 years ago. Elizabeth Prez, wish referral specialist/writer, explained when Breiner’s father was in the hospital she was moved by the children patients and wanted to bring hope and encouragement to their lives.

Prez said, “Some of these kids will have one life-threatening illness (and) some have five. It’s just a daily battle with doctors, appointments … just to give them a special day to get their minds off illness and just be a kid (is important.)”

She added, “It improves their quality of life if just for a short period of time.”

Approximately 800 wishes are granted every year by the network.

They can be everything from a shopping spree to meeting a celebrity. One child got to meet President Obama.

Not all wishes, however, can be granted. Prez said one little boy asked to receive a time machine so that he could go back in time to see the dinosaurs.

To make up for these limitations, candidates are asked to submit three wishes they would like to see fulfilled.

To provide this service has been a real blessing the Gonzles family. “We’re very grateful to Kid’s Wish,” Christy said.