A trip to Disney World for a special boy
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - February 4, 2012 (WPVI) -- It is a story of faith, courage and a lot of caring people joining with a popular restaurant to cook up a very special treat for a little boy with a debilitating disease that doesn't yet have a name.
Six year old Benjamin Wallace suffers from a life-threatening rare blood disease that is unknown. His immune system is compromised, and he has to wear a mask when he goes to school. He also uses a cane to walk, and is partially blind.
"Basically, he gets blood transfusions every 10-14 days to replace whatever is missing in his blood, so they still don't have a name for it," explained Benjamin's mother Natalie Wallace.
Natalie Wallace, who also has two young daughters, already lost another son, four year old Zac, to the life-threatening disease.
You may wonder what gives her strength.
"It's my faith, I know that God's plan may not be what my plan is, but I have to live for my children that are here. And because of Zac, I think he taught me more in four years than I could have taught him in a life time," said Natalie.
No one can begin to imagine what a family goes through when faced with such adversity. But when organizations like the Make-A-Wish foundation and Panera Bread come together to help, it speaks volumes.
Panera Bread presented a check for almost $23,000 collected from its generous customers to the Make a Wish Foundation to send kids like Benjamin and other's with life-threatening illnesses to Disney World.
They also threw a little party for Ben, his family and friends to celebrate the trip.
"The part that I like about airplanes is this will be the first time that I'll go the airport," said Benjamin.
"It absolutely breaks my heart to see them going through this," said Karen Traten from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "And if we can give them happiness and something to look forward to in the future, then I'm all for it."
"We love being part of the community and making people happy," said Theresa Clark from Panera Bread. "And I think we do that through our food as well as things like granting Ben's wish."
The Wallace family is praying and hoping medical research may someday find a cure. But for now, Benjamin and his family will settle for a little bit of joy and happiness planning to spend 7 days at Disney World in the month of May.
norristown, pennsylvania, local/state, dann cuellar
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