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I have to say this was a tough decision for Kevin and I. Gavin was diagnosed over 5 years ago and we always said that we weren't going to do the Make A Wish until it was absolutely necessary. Well, after many years of friends telling us to take advantage while Gavin was still able, we decided to make the call. We still have not lost hope that a cure is coming, but in case it takes longer than we'd like, this gave Gavin a chance to really enjoy his wish completely able and still running/walking!
So, hopefully you've never had to go through the Make a Wish process, but let me tell you, it's quite incredible. You start with interviews with the most sweet, incredible volunteers you would ever want to meet. They come to your home and "invterview" your child. You have absolutely NO say in the wish. It's ALL about the child and what THEY want!
As we sat in the other room listening to Gavin and hearing him tell them his dreams and wishes, it's quite funny. We really had no idea what he was going to say! He started off with a wish to go to Africa so he could get some of their currency...you know how he is with other countries money. I had to intervene at that point, we were NOT going to Africa (not the safest place at this point). lol!!
Then they talked about UK and his huge fascination with the team and players. But, because Gavin has been the super star the last year, he's already been to a UK game at UF and met some of the players. Then he shared his love of the Gators, but you know he's been spoiled rotten by them and been given the star treatment there!
Then the discussion turned to his love of Disney and waterparks and waterslides. He also began talking about how he went on a cruise and LOVED it. He loved going to another country and getting their money! This definitely peeked their interest and they knew they could do some amazing things with this idea!!!
Well, they left with lots of ideas and interests from Gavin and said they would contact us in a few weeks to surprise Gavin with a wish!
A few weeks pass and we plan a party at Outback to celebrate the Wish Reveal! We had all the family there, along with close friends. It was amazing! Outback went all out to make it special as well. Once they revealed to Gavin that we were going on a 5 day Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and their own island, he just couldn't keep from smiling. He was soooo excited, and so were we! This was going to be such a fun family vacation that we knew we would never forget.
Well, it was sail day!!! We left Port Canaveral on August 3rd. The boys were just in awe over how big the ship was and how characters were there to greet us as we got on the ship!! This boat was incredible and HUGE!!!! Gavin immediately wanted to go to the deck to see the water slide, the Aqua Duck! That was what he was looking forward to the most!
We started off with a nice lunch as we sailed away! We couldn't ask for better weather, it was beautiful. We made our way to our room, which was perfect! The boys had their own bunk beds and we had a huge bed to ourselves. We also had a gorgeous balcony overlooking the amazing ocean for 5 days! It was heaven.
Every day was made special in some extra special way. We were either given tickets for the arcade or to the movies or something. We also had some kind of treat waiting for us when we got back to our room everyday, from cheese and crackers to chocolate covered fruit! It was wonderful. All the special touches really stood out. Disney and Make a Wish combined really know how to make you feel like a star and make all your troubles go away!
Another part the boys really enjoyed was the Pirate night. We all got dressed up like pirates and had a fun dinner, then went up to the deck for a movie and fireworks and a whole pirate themed show! It was AWESOME!! There's nothing like Fireworks while your out on the ocean in the middle of nowhere.
I think each of us gained about 10 pounds from all the food we ate. You just eat, eat and eat some more, it was INCREDIBLE!! Our waiters were the best! They really made every meal extra special. They knew what the boys liked and made sure to have it at every meal. They even made designs for Evan's ketchup! If we ever go again, we will definitely ask for the same waiters, because they really made it special. The boys really connected with them and gave them hugs and high fives every time we saw them around the ship. Just awesome!
One of our days was spent at Atlantis, Gavin wanted to go to the water slide inside the shark tank! He LOVED it! While we were there a horific storm rolled in. We camped out under un umbrella in the cafe area. We had the sweetest couple come join us at the table. They were there with their grandchildren. They asked what we were celebrating. Of course, we shared our story and talked about Gavin. They were touched and asked for our address. Gavin was set to have surgery a few days after we returned and they wanted to send a card to him. You never know who your story will touch, so share it! There are amazing people in this world and we were blessed to meet them.
This trip was by far one of the most incredible adventures we'd ever been on. We celebrated like rockstars and the boys were treated like celebrities! It was AMAZING!!! If you ever have the opportunity to go on a Disney Cruise, DO IT!!! You won't be disappointed.....I promise!
A HUGE thanks to everyone at Make A Wish and especially our 2 volunteers. They were awesome!