After we arrived in Orlando, on a flight provided for us, we were given an amazing rental van to drive all week. It was brand new with only 4,000 miles on it. We then reached the village, which is just moments away from Walt Disney World Resorts, we were welcomed by precious volunteers who showed us to our villa. It was a large two bedroom two bath with a full kitchen and even already had snacks in the refrigerator. A large meal was provided to our villa and we were off to sleep. The next day we were given 3 day park hoppers to Disney, 2 day park hopper at Universal, a day at Sea World, an offer for Free pictures using the Disney photo pass, a pass to allow Clayton and his party to the front of every line at each park, free parking, and a large check for our daily expenses. WOW! Talk about amazing.
The village itself is adorable and caters to Wish kids. There are not just cancer kids. In fact, I only saw one other bald child while I was there. But, whats important about this week, is NO ONE asked Clayton about his diagnosis.. no one mentioned his illness. He was treated just like any other kid anywhere. It was freeing, exciting, and an awesome start to a cancer free life.
At Disney and Universal, The wish kids are given VIP treatment. Workers are trained to cater to these kiddos. The kids wear their wish pins, and the employees actually seek them out for special moments. At Crystal Palace, a restaurant that offers meeting with Pooh and Friends, Pooh chose Clayton to lead the "Pooh Parade". Ride attendants would allow Clayton to sit where ever he wanted on the ride. The characters made a special effort to give Clayton and his family an amazing visit offering special pictures and moments. Several times we'd be getting Clayton's pictures with a character only to turn around and see the people in line crying or extending their best wishes for him as we walked away. It was precious! It was definitely a week he and we will never forget.
Please remember to support the businesses that allow these kinds of great things for kids. The Make a Wish Foundation is amazing and will forever be a charity we give to... as well as Give Kids the World. Give kids the world is ALL volunteer and donations. They provide each family a villa, 3 meals a day, ice cream all day, drinks, snacks, amazing nightly carnivals, putt putt on site, fishing, arcade, movies, carousel rides and many other things. Sweet volunteers love kids and give their time and effort for them. Precious!
As for how we are feeling.. Well, Friday Clayton endured a bone scan, MRI of brain and ear, CT scan of lungs, and a chest xray. We are amazed, grateful and blessed to announce that they were all NORMAL. Praise the Lord. Our little guy is officially not only done with treatment, but Cancer Free. I can't put into words what kind of feeling that is for a mother. It is almost like I don't know what to do.. I don't remember who I was before Cancer... I don't know how to go back to disciplining Clayton, telling him No, making him do his chores, etc. I'm sort of kidding there, because we didn't let him go free totally, but we did learn to cater to Clayton just trying to make his life easier.. Now, he's so excited to just be "Clayton".
His next visit to a clinic will be in 6 weeks, but only to have his Port flushed. He'll go in 12 weeks for more scans just to be sure that this ugly disease does not return. After a clean set of scans this next time, he'll get his port removed.
We've come a long way and we could NOT have done it without all of our friends, and family and without our precious Lord who walked along beside us. Thank you all for everything. Thank you for the meals, for buying and wearing Clayton shirts, for the bracelets, for the carpool rides, for the shoulders to cry on, for treating Clayton so wonderfully, I just can't express what all we feel as far as gratitude. Our cup overflows. I had the flu last week, but you know what, it was NOTHING. I felt horrible and was very sick, but it was nothing compared to the heartache and hurt that I've dealt with the last year. My heart is healing, although it will always ache for what my baby went through... and will continue to go through over the next 5 years of followup, but the knowledge that he is free and clear TODAY is all I need to face tomorrow. God has been faithful and He will continue to be. Friends, God is Good ALWAYS. Even in things we don't understand and maybe never will. I promise you, He is good and He does want good for his people.
I am always glad to share Clayton's testimony and encourage anyone who may be hurting and suffering through a difficult road. Please allow me to do that. Love to all of you..