I think it was actually at the end of the last year, we started chatting with Make-A-Wish about Stephen being referred for a wish. For kids with diseases that require a transplant, the child has one year after the transplant surgery to be referred to Make-A-Wish and to start the process. Once Stephen was referred to Make-A-Wish by his doctor's at CHOP, we received a phone call that he was eligible for a wish. We talked a lot about whether or not to even proceed because Stephen's doing so well right now and we know at some point before he turns 18, he'll probably need another transplant and maybe he'd rather wait until he was old enough to completely understand what Make-A-Wish means. But after talking with Make-A-Wish and realizing we should just enjoy the opportunity now, we forged ahead.
Around Springtime, two really nice young women who are Make-A-Wish volunteers came to the house to meet Stephen, talk to us, and find out all about Stephen's favorite things. In doing so, it became really evident to them that Stephen's favorite things are race cars and Lightning McQueen; so of course the first choice would be to meet Lightning McQueen! And the best place to meet him and his best buddy, Tow Mater and the rest of the Cars crew, is at Disneyland in California where they have re-created the town of Radiator Springs (if you haven't seen the movie Cars, you must do so immediately!! It's not only super cool, but funny too) with all of the characters.
A few months later we heard back from Make-A-Wish that Stephen's wish had been granted and we would be going to Disneyland over Halloween. Even better yet!! We also learned that they throw the child a wish reveal party at their favorite restaurant to "reveal" the big wish and it's also where you get all of your trip information and paperwork. So last week we had the big reveal at Glory Days where he finally got the big news that we were flying to California to see Lightning McQueen at Disneyland!!! Stephen had known we were getting ready to take a trip somewhere (because I had been talking to him about the big airplane ride), but he had no idea where we were actually going and I honestly think he was super surprised that we were really going to get to go to Radiator Springs!
One of Make-A-Wish's corporate sponsors is Custom Ink, and they ask you to make a t-shirt for everyone in your family to celebrate and commemorate the wish trip. So we made Lightning McQueen themed shirts and wore them to the reveal party. They say "Stephen's Pit Crew" with the lighting bolt and Lighting McQueen's race car number. Stephen was super excited that all three of us had matching McQueen shirts too. Here we are in our shirts getting ready for the celebration
And our amazing volunteers brought Stephen a couple of gifts to help keep him occupied on the plane.
Oh, and have I mentioned we're leaving TOMORROW?!?!?! Bright and early at 5:30AM, the car will be here to pick us up and whisk us away to the airport and off we'll go to sunny California for 5 days!! We'll be spending 2 days in the park, Halloween night at Disneyland for Mickey's Halloween Parade, and then we'll have 2 days to explore Southern California. Our plan is to actually have no plan and just enjoy some time away and also see the beach at least once. The most important part will be Wednesday morning when we are to report to Radiator Springs at 7:30AM for a special meet-and-greet with Lightning McQueen!! Don't worry.....there will be plenty of pictures to share!!! I'll be ready with the camera, and my tissues :)
Thanks again to everyone for their love and support!!! My goal is to definitely post some of the pictures while we're away, so check back this week for more Make-A-Wish pictures!!