Cooper was diagnosed with Hurler Syndrome at 18 months-old. It was crucial for his diagnosis that he receive a bone marrow transplant before the age of three in order to help slow down the progression of the disease. After nights on end of researching, his family was directed to the University of Minnesota where they specialize in Hurlers. After five grueling months of treatment, the dedicated hospital social worker informed Cooper that he qualified for a wish! This immediately brought Cooper something positive into his life, something to be excited for and help him get through his daily treatment. Cooper wished to go to Walt Disney World Resort!
The Amazing Partners of Make-A-Wish -
“The send-off still gives me chills and fills my eyes with tears every time I think about it,” his mother, Ashley, said. “We had no idea what to expect upon arrival, and let me tell you, it exceeded every expectation, by far! The moment we pulled into The Parking Spot, we gave our voucher to the attendant and we were directed to the very first space. Cooper felt every bit of famous and was the star of the show. He was immediately greeted with gifts. Pictures were taken and balloons were released. He got to sit in the driver’s seat of the shuttle until it was time to head to the airport. We were then taken to the nearby Hilton where a catered fajita lunch was served. Not only was lunch served, but more gifts were given and his spot at the table was decorated. After lunch, we were greeted by two employees from Southwest Airlines. The friendly staff had signs with his name on them, and even gave him a Southwest bear that nobody else had! We hopped on the shuttle and headed for the airport. Once we arrived at the airport, he was greeted with more gifts and special attention. Everything was taken care of. Our bags were checked and we went straight to the front of the line. Once we got to the terminal, a flight attendant announced Cooper over the PA system. Everyone stood and clapped! Cooper was then greeted by one of our pilots! He took Cooper outside for a tour of the plane. Cooper even got to sit where the luggage goes while they were unloading from the flight before - we were told that was a first for any child! He then went inside the airplane, and even got to sit cockpit and check out all of the bells and whistles. Our family boarded the plane first and never had to ask for a thing. It was truly remarkable. The partners of Make-A-Wish who help make the wishes even more special are incredible!”
The Walt Disney World Experience -
“Cooper had a blast during his busy week in Orlando,” Ashley said. “We went to Sea World, the Disney Parks and Universal Studios. Cooper had an amazing time and was treated so special everywhere he went! While at Universal Studios, Cooper met Captain America. Not only did Cooper enjoy meeting him, but we believe Captain America enjoyed it just as much. He took the time to get to know a little bit about Cooper a well. He even let Cooper hold onto his shield!
Speaking of amazing partners, Cooper and his family stayed at Give Kids the World Village on his wish trip.
This place is truly magical,” Ashley said. “Cooper had everything a child could want at the palm of his hands. He enjoyed the carnival rides the most! He swam, had ice cream, rode horses and there was so much more.”
To some, this may sound like a week of ‘fun.’ But for a young child who’s had to endure what Cooper experiences every day, his wish coming to life was so much more than that.
“Cooper is a regular at doctor’s offices,” Ashley said. “He is used to being poked and prodded. While this is not an ordinary routine, this is his routine. But Make-A-Wish allowed Cooper to do what Cooper wanted to do. They allowed him to be a kid, something Cooper never gets to experience. The compassion and excitement of the week is something that Cooper will live with forever, and makes a difference in his life every day.”
The Make-A-Wish foundation could not do what it does without the generous support of its sponsors, donors, volunteers and medical professionals. But the reality is, wishes still cost money and we need your help. To make a difference in the lives of children who need wishes, like Cooper, please donate today.