I just had the best week. Like for real, it was amazing. The whole week, I just kept taking moments to realize how happy I was.
Let me talk about Give Kids the World. They are a non profit resort in Central Florida for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. It's an opportunity for them to visit the parks in the area, such as Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and LegoLand. They are provided transportation through the wish making organization, and then once they get there, everything is free. They are given a week to take a break from all of their medical problems, expenses, and anything else that could be causing their stress. It's honestly one of the most amazing places in the world.
Now for what we did. Every day, we did the morning shift and the night shift of various jobs. The Give Kids the World Village is decorated very "sweetly." That is really the only way to describe it. They are focused on containing the magic. Everything is brightly colored. They stay in cute little villas. The cafeteria is called the Gingerbread House and the tables are full of peppermints. The pool is called the Park of Dreams, and includes a pool, a splash area, and fishing. When families arrive, they are given a star. They are to take the star to the castle, give it to the wish fairy, and then have then it will be placed in the star fairy. They celebrate Halloween and Christmas as a way to make up for anything that was missed due to sickness. There are so many things I could go on and on about. But I will save you from it. We spent the week volunteering in every area they offer. The whole place is run by volunteers, so they make it really great to work there.
Now that I am home, I was sitting on my couch thinking about the week that I just had, and actually cried. There were so many families. There were all kinds. They were from so many different places. The kids that are sick were all in different stages of sickness. In some families, you can't even tell which kid is the wish child. Other families, they are non verbal, in wheelchairs, or have other physical attributes that let us know who they are. I cried thinking about these families and the fun they were having. They looked so happy and they were enjoying themselves so much, and then they are going to go home and be hit in the face with reality. It made me so sad for them. While some kids are in remission, and others currently have their conditions under control, there are others who can't even function day to day. There is so much love among these families and it hurts me to know that they could have one of their sweet children taken from them.
Even though we go to volunteer as a way to help them, to serve them, and hopefully bless the families, they certainly have effected me in so many ways. I have been blessed beyond measure to see how lucky I am to have my health and to even have the means to come and volunteer for them. My heart is with all of the families that have been to the village and any family that will go to the village. I am so thankful for the families and their strength to carry on in the midst of their trials.