Disney wish for youth fulfilled

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 25, 2006

One dream came true last month when the Make-A-Wish Foundationsent Matthew Smith to Disney World.

Smith,16, of Franklin County, wished to go to Disney World tomeet Goofy. He had kidney failure two years ago, but now is happierthan ever.

After Smith’s kidney transplant through Children’s Hospital inNew Orleans, Make-A-Wish wanted to set up an all-expense paid tripto Orlando July 6-12 for the entire family. Smith’s parents NonaCase and Bobby Cole, and Sara Case, his 12-year-old sister, wentalong on the trip.

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Smith enjoyed visiting the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and MGMStudios at Disney World. The trip package also included UniversalStudios and Sea World, where Smith had the opportunity of feedingand petting the dolphins.

At Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park, Smith hadthe time of his life.

“He has always been scared of rides, but this time he rode everysingle ride there,” said Nona Case.

Case said Universal Studios did a fantastic job at catering toMake-A-Wish children. Tajuana Callendar, inventory coordinator forUniversal Studios corporate headquarters, gave the family amemorable gift.

“We were given so many free souvenirs, but the biggest one was amahogany, glass case with anniversary pins from all over theworld,” said Case.

While on the trip, Smith and family lodged in Give Kids theWorld Village in Kissimmee, Fla.

The area is an actual village made to resemble Candy Land. Kidsfrom different charities from all over the world come to thevillage and are encouraged to eat as much ice cream as they canwhile visiting.

A rabbit named Mayor Clayton overseas the village and will tuckthe children in bed at night if the parents request. Volunteers andstaff members made Smith feel very welcome. Linda Spring is Smith’sMake-A-Wish coordinator for Franklin County.

To help other sick children haver their wishes fulfilled, WalkFor Wishes will be held in Brookhaven on Saturday, Oct. 24.

The walk kickoff will begin Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the StateRoom of State Bank in Brookhaven. For more information call1-800-819-4072 or email jwalsh@ms.wish.org.