Spunky 10-year-old gets Disney holiday wish

Spunky 10-year-old gets Disney holiday wish

This article was published in Dayton Daily News on 01/14/16

By Chuck Manker

Madison Grigsby, who will be 10 years old in February, thought it would be cool to spend the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in a different state and in two different years.

So, that’s what Madison, her mom, Erin Carey, and her dad, Benjamin Carey, did – at Walt Disney World through A Special Wish Foundation, Dayton Chapter (ASW) and Cameron’s Smile. Cameron’s Smile is a charity that does an annual 5K walk/run put on by the family of Cameron Forror, A Special Wish child who passed away in 2008. Cameron’s Smile sponsored Madison’s Wish to Walt Disney World along with ASW Dec. 27 through Jan. 2.

As to how Madison thought about the holidays in Florida, “They were talking about New Year’s Eve on the Disney Channel and Madison thought it would be cool to go there then,” Erin said.

On Sept. 22, 2014, Madison, who is a fourth grader at Piqua Catholic School, was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Acute Transverse Myelitis that affects the spinal cord. She is completely paralyzed from her belly button on down, Erin said. As a result of the disorder, Madison developed scoliosis in her spine, a brain cyst and life threatening complications.

Madison is in rehabilitation therapy to learn how to stand and move with the help of braces by transferring her weight from one side of her body to the other. She spent two weeks at Chicago’s Shriners Hospital for Children in December for therapy and receives outpatient therapy in Piqua. “Rehab is going fantastic,” Erin said. “Madison is a pretty spunky kid. If she wants to do something, she’ll do it. If she doesn’t want to do it, she won’t.”

Before going to Florida, Erin said she anticipated the trip would be good quality family time to be free from medical appointments for a week. And, to make family memories because before the trip, memories were of going back and forth to appointments. It also would be nice to see Madison be a kid and not have to worry about anything. “Madison counted down the days. Every time she talked about the trip, it put a smile on her face,” Erin said.

The trip didn’t disappoint.

The family stayed at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee where many wish families from across the country stay when visiting Walt Disney World and other attractions. The Village is designed specifically for them.

“Give Kids The World is a home away from home. The staff is wonderful and the food is great,” Erin said. “Madison had nothing holding her back and smiled and had more fun than I’ve seen her have in a long time.”

The family went to all four Disney theme parks, Universal Studios and Legoland. “Madison loved the Magic Kingdom and meeting Belle (Disney character.) She had a smile on her face the whole time,” Erin recalled. “But I think we had a blast at Universal the most.”

New Year’s Eve came and the family spent it at the Village. “We had a great time,” Erin said.

For A Special Wish and Cameron’s Smile, it doesn’t get any better than Erin’s description of the trip to Florida for the holidays. “I could not be more happy with how the trip went. It was more than we could have asked for.”