Sometimes wishes do come true.
For one Jack Kemp Community School student, his wish to go on a Dream Works themed cruise will become reality this fall, after being granted the opportunity by the Northern Alberta Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Ten-year-old Dougy Eaton, Grade 5, had his wish revealed in the school gymnasium yesterday where family and friends learned of his upcoming Caribbean trip.
“It was definitely not the easiest decision to make because he can’t verbally tell me what he wants as a wish,” said Dougy’s mother, Amy Labrecque.
“So the process for getting to where we got was a lot of, ‘What is Dougy into? What is Dougy’s favourite colour? What’s going to make Dougy smile?’”
Dougy was born with x-linked hydrocephalus, scoliosis and cerebral palsy, making him non-verbal and wheelchair assisted, so the decision for his wish had to take these into account.
His mom wanted something that could include the whole family, as well as an event where she could control things like temperature to keep Dougy comfortable.
She narrowed it down to three choices, one of which was the cruise, and the other two being camping and swimming with dolphins.
“A lot of it also revolves around weather, because Doug is in a wheelchair and he overheats really easy,” she said, then added with a laugh.
“I know a lot of kids are like ‘Disney Land’ or ‘Disney World,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, crowds.’”
The cruise worked out perfectly, though, as with this choice, Dougy gets all the Disney characters and fireworks without the lineups for rides.
On the seven day vacation he’ll be joined by the gang from Madagascar, Puss in Boots, Shrek and others, while hopping to happening locations like Jamaica, Grand Cayman Islands, Haiti and Mexico.
To help him pick out the wish, Labrecque found a series of pictures, one of a camper, one of dolphins, and of course, one of a cruise, but with Mickey Mouse ears.
“We basically said, ‘Hey Doug, what’s your number one wish?’ And he would pick whichever picture, and it just happened that he picked the cruise, then he picked the camper, then he picked the dolphins,” she said of his preferred order.
Labrecque describes Dougy as a smiley, happy-go-lucky kid who loves school and socializing and laughs as she points out that he causes trouble just like any other kid his age.
And as an added bonus to his wish he’ll be celebrating his eleventh birthday on the water, taking in the Disney characters and the tropical weather, while Labrecque’s birthday landed yesterday on the date of the big reveal.
He’ll also get to cross a lot of items off his list of firsts, like his first time flying, first time on a boat, first time out of country, and perhaps the most fun of all, his first time meeting the gang from Disney.