A wish comes true for Alissa Leier through Make-A-Wish Foundation
Alissa’s wish came true for her and her family.
On Dec. 28, 2012, 12 members of the Leier family boarded a plane to Florida through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In October of 2012, Alissa submitted her application to the foundation.
“You can basically wish for anything you want,” Alissa said.
Since 1980, the Make- A-Wish Foundation has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wishgranting work.
Alissa was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia in December of 2009. It is a rare, inherited disease that causes nervous system damage and movement problems. It usually begins in childhood and leads to impaired muscle coordination but does not affect thinking and reasoning abilities.
Make-A-Wish then sent one of their Wish Team members to learn more about Alissa’s wish.
In November, Alissa heard that her wish came true. The whole Leier family joined Alissa on her trip, except for her brother, Matthew, who stayed home to take care of the livestock.
Family members included Alissa’s parents, Larry and Ross Leier; sister Nicole Vander Vorst along with her husband, Dustin, and their children, Tucker 4 and Dawson 2; sister Nancy and her boyfriend, Alex Deis; brother Nathan, who has the same diagnosis; sister Marissa, and Alissa’s twin brother Aaron.
Prior to their departure from Bismarck, they lodged at the Ramkota Hotel. A limousine gave them a wonderful ride to the airport.
They arrived in Orlando, Fla., and stayed at Give Kids the World.
Give Kids The World began with a little girl, named Amy, with a wish and the desire of one man to make that wish come true.Amy had leukemia and one wish—to visit the theme parks in Orlando. To facilitate Amy’s wish, the request of a complimentary stay was made to a respected hotelier. Sadly, the remainder ofAmy’s travel plans took too long to arrange and her wish was never granted; Amy had passed away.
This unfulfilled wish inspired a man, the hotelier, to make a vow that no child in need would ever be failed again. That man was Henri Landwirth, and his desire to ensure that Amy’s story would never repeat itself is how and why Give Kids The World began.
Landwirth enlisted the support of colleagues in the hospitality industry, including world-famous theme parks, to assist him in bringing families to central Florida within 24 hours if need be. He called the project “Give Kids The World” because that is just what he intended to do—provide memorable, magical, cost-free experiences to children with lifethreatening illnesses and their families.
As the program expanded and the number of families continued to grow, it was apparent that Give Kids The World would need to create a place that could better serve the special needs of families. The gates of Give Kids The World Village opened in 1989.
Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization that has welcomed more than 120,000 families from all 50 states and over 74 countries. They have over 3,500 devoted volunteer angels, countless compassionate corporate and individual heroes, and dedicated staff members.
Leiers rented a car to travel to the several theme parks they visited during their stay.
“The first day we got stuck in the middle of an intersection, and dad panicked a bit, but we managed to find our way out of that one,” Alissa laughed.
The kids thought the rides were the best part of the trip. The adults enjoyed a few rides also but appreciated the several shows that were offered at the theme parks.
In Disney World, they visited Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.
“My two little nephews, Tucker and Dawson, loved meeting the Disney characters,” Alissa said.
Alissa said Magic Kingdom was very busy, and there were times when the lines did not move.
“We had a fast pass, but without that, we would have waited for up to three hours for some of the rides,” she said.
Alissa is so grateful to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Give Kids the World.
“They must have such big hearts to do this for kids with special needs who may never ever get the chance to do things like this. I am so grateful that there are people like that in the world,”Alissa said.