2014 Wishes – Just a few of our 10 wishes…
TIMOTHY & JUSTIN
Ladies and gentleman, start your engines…
This iconic phrase is known by NASCAR fans as the signal that a race is about to begin. For Justin and Tim’s family, this is music to their ears.
Growing up, brothers Timothy and Justin were surrounded by NASCAR. Collectible die cast cars, talk at the dinner table of how Jeff Gordon won last week’s race, and the most exciting of all, watching 43 cars take the track to go speeds in excess of 180mph every Sunday afternoon on the TV. While watching their favorite sport on television was always something to look forward to, it pales in comparison to the NASCAR wish experience these two brothers had in store.
The track to today has not been easy for their family. In 2008, Timothy, 15, was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, a life-threatening disease of the nervous system. As a result of this diagnosis, Timothy was confined to a wheelchair. While this diagnosis may place physical restrictions on Tim, it certainly hasn’t placed any on his personality. His personality is one that simply lights up any room he’s in through the pure joy and happiness he exudes. In 2010, just as the family was becoming adjusted to Timothy’s disease, one of their other sons Justin, 12, was also diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. Following in his brothers footsteps, Justin refused to let this diagnosis affect his positive outlook on life.
When medical professionals at a local hospital referred the two brothers to Make-A-Wish Illinois, they quickly became excited at the thought of doing their wish together. After some thought, they decided on going to a NASCAR race at Chicagoland Speedway to meet each of their favorite drivers. Last month their wishes came true when the brothers set off to Joliet for a race weekend at the MyAfibStory.com 400! Timothy had the chance to spend priceless one-on-one time with Kasey Kahne, and Justin had plenty of bonding time with his favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. After their once in a life time meet-and-greet experiences, the entire family set off for a behind-the-scenes tour of the car garages. This allowed them the opportunity to mingle with pit crews and get a close-up look at the cars they will soon be watching out in action on the track. This was one of their favorite parts of the entire weekend!
Now back home in the southeastern suburbs, the entire family has a renewed sense of hope, strength and joy from this wish experience. After going through the pain and struggles associated with two children being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, this weekend allowed the entire family a getaway that they will not soon forget.
Ariel was in awe. Ariel was an avid fan of the Mickey Mouse she knew from television and now he was right before her eyes. Not only was Ariel meeting Mickey in person, but this was Chef Mickey, preparing her and her family a delicious meal. As Ariel embraced her idol she could not wait to find out what else was in store for her in this magical place.
Ariel is a very outgoing and friendly four-year-old girl. She loves to color and paint and her most recent endeavor is mastering her new keyboard and guitar. At birth Ariel was diagnosed with life-threatening heart disease, which has resulted in surgery and numerous hospital visits. Ariel told Make-A-Wish Illinois® that her wish was to go to Walt Disney World® Resort. With a love for Mickey Mouse and a shared name with a Disney princess this was the perfect wish for Ariel. In June 2014, Ariel’s wish came true when she flew with her family to Orlando. The trip was full of excitement for Ariel as she was able to explore the various theme parks with her family. The highlight of the trip was dinner with some of her Disney favorites including Donald Duck, Goofy and of course Mickey Mouse. A constant smile was on Ariel’s face as she was able to meet all the characters she adored.
Back home in the Chicagoland area, Ariel has lasting memories of all the joy she experienced with her family in Orlando. Ariel’s journey is far from easy, but the time she spent in Orlando has inspired hope and strength for Ariel and everyone involved in her wish.