Give Kids The World 30th Anniversary



Give Kids The World, a nonprofit organization that provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families week long, fantasy vacations, celebrated its 30th anniversary in March, marking three decades of providing the happiness that inspires hope.


My family stayed at Give Kids the World in 2002 on my son’s wish trip. I wanted to be sure to share this with you since I have first hand experience in how awesome Give Kids the World really is!


give kids the world


Since 1986, the organization has hosted more than 143,000 children and their families. Give Kids The World partners with more than 240 wish-granting organizations from around the world to bring these families to Central Florida to experience the world’s most beloved theme parks. There is no cost for visiting families.


give kids the world


The inspiration for Give Kids The World was a wish that went unfulfilled. Thirty years ago, a 6-year-old girl named Amy wanted to visit Walt Disney World. But despite efforts to make that dream come true, Amy, who had leukemia, passed away before all of the pieces could come together. An Orlando hotelier and Holocaust survivor named Henri Landwirth was so moved by her story he pledged that no child’s wish would ever again come too late.


give kids the world


With the help of his friends and colleagues in the hospitality industry, his new venture could make a wish come true in as little as 24 hours. Give Kids The World started in 1986 as a few rooms spread out between several local hotels. Three years later, the whimsical Give Kids The World Village resort opened in Kissimmee, and has grown to encompass 79 acres with 144 two-bedroom villas.


give kids the world


The one-of-a-kind Village looks as if it leapt off the pages of a child’s storybook. It features the Castle of Miracles, where golden stars personalized with each wish child’s name twinkle on the ceiling. There’s a magical carousel, a child-size train, a dinosaur-themed mini golf course, two pools and a spectacular splash pad. Halloween and Christmas are celebrated every week, as is the birthday of Mayor Clayton, a six-foot rabbit who serves as honorary mayor of the Village. All the amenities are designed to help the children and their families forget – if only for a week – the challenges that living with a life-threatening illness present.


give kids the world


Today, the mission of the Village is fulfilled with the help of dozens of corporate partners and countless donors, including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, as well as Kennedy Space Center, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and Gatorland, all of which provide admission tickets.


give kids the world


Visiting families enjoy complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner provided by Perkins Restaurants & Bakery, Boston Market and Papa John’s Pizza. Additional support comes from longtime partners such as Mears Transportation, InterContinental Hotels Group Owners Association and Orange Lake Resorts, Home to Holiday Inn Club Vacations.


give kids the world


“Over the last 30 years, we’ve welcomed thousands of children and their families into our Village home and into our hearts. Each one of them has made an indelible mark on our lives,” said Pamela Landwirth, President and CEO of Give Kids The World Village.


give kids the world


“As we look back through the years, we are so thankful for the incredible generosity of our corporate donors, our partners, and everyone who has helped support our mission,” she said. “They have shared their time, talents, and resources to ensure that our families leave the Village with memories they will cherish for a lifetime.”


give kids the world


Every wish kid gets a star on the ceiling of the Castle of Miracles, shown above. My son’s star is just inside the front door, on the ceiling right outside what used to be the Fe Fi Fo Fun Game Room. They’ve done a lot of changes since we’ve been there, so I’m not sure if that is still a game room, though.


In 2015, the Village welcomed more than 7,700 families, a number expected to grow in 2016. To accommodate the continuing growth, additional villas are under construction. The first phase of Banyan Park, which includes an additional 24 villas, is scheduled to open this fall.


give kids the world


Also this year, Give Kids The World is bringing memories of the Village to “alumni” families during “family reunions” to be held in cities throughout the country. These ice-cream socials will allow guests to reconnect, reminisce and rediscover the feeling they had at the Village while meeting other families with stories much like their own. The family reunions are scheduled in cities such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, and Philadelphia.


give kids the world


Our time at the Give Kids the World Village was amazing. The peace that you feel when you are in the village can not be felt any where else in the “real world”. It truly is an incredible place for the wish kids, and their whole families.


For more information on Give Kids The World Village’s mission, the resort or how to make a donation that will help provide the “Happiness that Inspires Hope,” please visit


“C” is for Childhood Cancer Awareness

“C” is for Childhood Cancer Awareness.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.  The Gold Ribbon is for Childhood Cancer.



Only a small portion of research money goes towards childhood cancer. For some childhood cancers, it’s been over 20 years since new drugs have been approved. That’s just not right. These are our kids! All of us my not be cancer research doctors, we not not all have a million dollars to donate, but we all can spread the word about childhood cancer. The millionaires will hear and the cancer research doctors will get funding. It’s too important NOT to share!

I have a lot more information on my Childhood Cancer Page.

“C” is also for Calen, my son the childhood cancer survivor!


Calen was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on October 20, 2000. Eight days before his 6th birthday. Talk about a nightmare, being told your child has cancer is one. After three years and three months of treatment, he has gone on to still be cancer free almost 12 years after diagnose!

Calen is my hero! There are not enough words to express how proud I am of him.

To go through what he did and come out a survivor is awesome. He’s not only a survivor, he’s a thriver. He leads a full and busy life. He works very hard using the talents that God gave him for God’s glory. Satan tried to keep him down, but satan didn’t win! To God be the glory!!



Blogging Through the Alphabet

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month


A Comparison of Storms and Cancer……….by Kristie….Mom to Kendrie

** Unlike a hurricane or tornado, there is no Cancer Doppler Radar System. You have no advance notice or warning, no way to prepare. No time to board up your windows, throw your possessions in the car and flee the area. You’re just sitting there innocently, minding your own business, and *BAM*, Mother Nature throws a terrifying disaster into your life. Sort of like living through a tornado, only without the adrenaline rush, or the possibility of really cool photo opportunities. In fact, if there were any natural disaster on par with a diagnosis of leukemia, I think it might be an earthquake. When suddenly, the solid ground beneath your feet is shaking and pitching and rolling, nothing is stable anymore, and in the shock of the moment, you feel like the earth is opening up directly underneath. (for the record, I’ve never actually BEEN in an earthquake, but I assume that is what it would be like!)

** In preparation for a hurricane, residents stock up on batteries, duct tape and bottled water. In preparation for Steroid-Week, cancer-parents stock up on macaroni & cheese, pizza and breadsticks. But believe me, the prospect of a child on steroids is much, MUCH more frightening than the prospect of a hurricane. Both are whirling dervishes that wreak havoc … but the steroid child has an attitude to go along with the destruction. Be afraid parents, be very afraid.

** The span of therapy for your child is similar to the time a hurricane spends working its way to shore. You know the storm will pick a path …. but there is nothing you can do but wait and see which way it will go. Will your child be directly in the path of the worst of the side effects, or will the storm of chemotherapy veer off just enough to spare your child the brunt of the storm? You sort of sit back and hold your breath and hope when the storm passes, the parts of your life you care about the most are still standing.

** Your friends and family will become your own personal FEMA team. Online friends and total strangers will become your very own Red Cross, lending moral support and encouragement when you need it. For me, my ALL-Kids support group and Caringbridge friends are my natural disaster response team and they (YOU!) have helped me more than I would have thought possible.

** When the storm passes, and you are considering the toll it took on your family and child —- looking at the damage it has done and the innocence that has been lost, you sit back and think how lucky you are that it wasn’t worse. Because you know it could always be worse. And you are grateful that the sun will shine again. And most of all, you pray for no more storms.

…..Kristie is a much better writer than I am. She was kind enough to give me permission to use her writing here.


If you would like more information about childhood cancer, please visit my Childhood Cancer Page.

Cancer Survivor!

My son was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2000. He finished treatments in December of 2003. He visited his oncologists last Thursday when he went from being a cancer patient to a cancer survivor!
In the hall outside the clinic

In the clinic waiting room

And sitting in the exam room

Notice the recurring theme of these pictures? He loves computers! Even when he was as young as 6, he would spend as much time as he could in the computer room at the UK Children’s Hospital. They were only open a couple of hours every day, never enough for him, though. lol

He had some awesome Doctors and Nurses take care of him over the years.

All the honor and glory go to God who has an awesome plan for Calen’s life.

If you would like more information about childhood cancer, and some resources available, please visit my Childhood Cancer Page.

Disposing of Medicine

When my son finished treatment for leukemia, we had some of his medicine (oral chemo) left. The doctor told me to flush them down the toilet.
I didn’t do it, because we have a septic tank. I thought the medicine would disrupt the balance of bacteria in the tank and cause us problems.
I recently found this website Dispose My Meds, that has a pharmacy locater. There are now pharmacies that will take your old and no longer needed medicines and dispose of them.
Homeopathic medicineImage via Wikipedia

It seems that the need is even greater for those with city sewer. There have been studies that show the high level of antibiotics and other medicines in the water supply after the water has been treated!

That’s pretty scary!

So if you have outdated or no longer needed meds, you can visit Dispose My Meds to find a pharmacy near you that will accept your old meds for disposal.

For more homemaking tips, visit Homemaker Monday, and Tammy’s Recipes.
For more ideas, visit Works For Me Wednesday.

Childhood Cancer Awareness

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
Make sure and check out the Childhood Cancer link over on the right.

Prayers Appreciated

I’m up early this morning. yawn. Calen has his monthly clinic visit today. Prayers appreciated for traveling mercies for the 2 hour drive EACH way. And for a passing his exam, and lab work. Thanks!!