“You don’t realize sometimes, that the illness doesn’t only affect the patient. It affects the whole family” Cayden’s mother, Yvonne, reflects. Cayden is a 5-year-old boy who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at a young age. This form of cancer affects the blood and bone marrow. From treatments, to hospital visits and school, Cayden has had to learn how to juggle living with a critical illness. He and his family were in need of break – an opportunity to leave the doctors’ offices behind and spend time together as a family. They needed a wish.
When Cayden met with his Wish Granters he knew that he wanted to go on a Disney cruise and feel the sand between his toes on the beach.
Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida booked him and his family a tropical cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream. Cayden was beyond excited to see the Islands and swim in the ocean!
Once on board the ship, Cayden was able to experience everything he could have imagined. There were buffets, unlimited ice cream, entertainment, arcade games, children’s club activities, and more! The ship stopped at Naussau on its way to Castaway Cay and then hosted a Pirate themed party in the evening. “Cayden’s favorite part was definitely dressing up as a pirate. He went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and we were able to buy him whatever he wanted with the money that Make-A-Wish gave us. It was so nice that we didn’t have to stop and say we couldn’t afford this. We were able to get him whatever he wanted.”
Their final stop on the cruise was at Disney’s private Island, Castaway Cay. They spent the rest of their time scuba diving and riding bicycles. “Out of everything, he was so excited to ride bikes with us. He was just more than thrilled that he had the whole family riding bikes with him down this long path.” Based on a national study, 96% of parents have reported that the wish experience has strengthened their families, and 99% reported that it gave their children increased feelings of happiness.
After having the wish trip of a lifetime, Cayden and his family returned home with new memories and renewed strength to help him continue his fight for better health. “The wish just really let him know that even though he is sick, he can still have fun and enjoy life. To be able to have that time, to have our whole family just relaxing and enjoying ourselves is something we don’t get. It was a great experience where we could just forgot about the illness for a while.”
You can help grant life-changing wishes like Cayden’s by visiting cnflwish.org/ways-to-help.