Two years ago, my daughter Abby was a normal 13-year-old. One who loved to ride her bike, play ping pong, draw and sing. Now instead of doing the things she loved doing, she battles Dysautonomia, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
Abby handles it with grace and strength every day, but the hardest part to watch for me as a mother is the isolation she experiences – friends fade away because they don’t understand.
Abby decided to join a Facebook support group for teens living with illness, where she met her “soul sister,” Hailey. Both girls have similar medical complexities and really clicked. They have supported each other through their challenges, surgeries, and doctor appointments. They talk every single day and give each other a sense of normalcy. That means more to them, and to us as parents, than we could have ever imagined.
When Abby received a wish, she wanted nothing more than to meet her soul sister, Hailey, and stay at Give Kids The World with her. We were so happy when we found out her wish had been granted! When they met, it was nothing short of magical. My husband, Hailey’s dad Chris, myself, and the girls just cried.
We stayed in Banyan Park and loved it! Abby and Hailey shared a room and stayed huddled up together, talking and giggling.
Both girls said it was so nice to feel normal without the stares or people asking what was wrong with them. They were just accepted for who they are, without judgement. While they liked going to the parks, they mainly stayed at Give Kids The World. They loved exploring the Village and riding rides.
For me, the Village was revitalizing. You don’t realize how overwhelmed you are with doctors’ appointments, phone calls, home health visits, hospital stays etc., until you go to Give Kids The World and you are just MOM. There was no stress, just me being able to enjoy my child and watch her be happy.
The girls are already planning to meet up again in the spring and do a couple of things on the World Passport for Kids. Knowing we have more adventures coming up made separating on our last day easier.
Thank you, Give Kids The World, for making our dreams come true!
Kim, Abby’s mom.