How does a family know what their child would wish for if he is non-verbal? Evan
, a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy is one of those children. Although he is able to say “yes” and “no,” his body language gives the greatest clues as to his likes and dislikes. Evan’s mom, Janette, and dad, Ivan, knew how much their boy loved the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. He loves anything with wheels, like many young boys. So when Make-A-Wish volunteers visited him and mentioned Lightening McQueen, the main character in Cars, Evan lit up like a Christmas tree! Soon Evan and his mom and dad were off to Walt Disney World
® Resort, the magical place where Cars and McQueen reside.
The family stayed in Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which features suites based on classics such as Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. In addition to sleeping in a fully decked out Cars suite, Evan and his family enjoyed the resort’s two pools, around which characters from Cars and other Disney movies strolled.
Although he was a bit limited as to the rides he could go on, his parents took him on a helicopter ride which was a huge hit. The second stupendous activity was an airboat ride, which Evan adored. “He didn’t stop smiling for a second, especially when he saw alligators. That was a major treat,” says Ivan.
The family’s trip coincided with New Year’s Eve and Disney lets out all the stops. The celebration included music, costumes and noise makers and a spectacular firework display. This experience delighted Evan and his parents. “It was glorious,” Ivan remembers, “and Evan was mesmerized.”
Janette and Ivan had difficulty putting into words how much the experience meant to Evan and to them. “It was such a blessing and we are forever grateful. How could you not be?” shares Ivan. “We were treated like royalty,” Janette says. “I wasn’t used to people being so wonderful.” Evan usually naps every day, but during his week-long wish, he didn’t nap once. Watching him enjoy this dream lifted his parents’ spirits with the same exaltation as the fireworks did the sky. It was just phenomenal.