Jamie’s Dream Fulfills a Magical Dream for Eight Pennsylvania Families 

         My family and I recently embarked on a “magical journey” to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.  We were invited on this trip by my friend Susan Wagner, and the entire excursion was made possible by Jamie’s Dream Team. This non-profit organization helps fulfill dreams for terminal, severely disabled or traumatized children and adults. Jamie sent eight families with disabled children on this amazing journey to the Magic Kingdom. 

    

    Susan who lives in Marshall Township initiated the trip because she wanted to get her son to Disney World. “My son Ryan is 14 years old and severely autistic. He loves Mickey Mouse. I knew flying him commercially wasn’t an option, having been a former flight attendant. A former therapist told me about Jamie’s Dream Team. When I spoke with their founder, Jamie Holmes, she was interested in helping my son. I told her I knew of several families that would love to get their children to Disney. She told me she would get them all there! Jamie and her team worked tirelessly with the fundraisers to make it happen,” said Susan. 

        “When Susan called me, she opened my eyes to the autism community. She made me see that there were children like Ryan who just wanted to get to Disney. I knew in my heart that we had to help Ryan and his friends get there. The trip was unbelievable; I am still in shocked that we pulled it off. We live in a great city with such generous and caring people that have great hearts. I will continue to provide this trip to families in years to come as a program through Jamie’s Dream Team, calling it Ryan’s Flight,” said Jamie. 

         The eight families that attended are extremely grateful. “I had a dream for my son . . . and it came true. We took ourselves out of the ‘box’ and did what might have been impossible. It was a wonderful experience, and Ryan met Mickey,” said Susan. 

         Chase Tunstall of McCandless Township was overjoyed with his trip. “Chase loves everything Disney. With the complexities of his diagnosis, we were apprehensive about taking him. Jamie and her team made his Disney dream come true. He hasn’t stopped smiling. We cherish those smiles, and we will remember everything about our magical trip for a long time,” said Chase’s mother, Tracey Williams. 

      

“Abby is a mid-functioning level 2 ASD child who used Disney junior as her learning technique to strengthen her eye sight, from ocular albinism, and to learn speech. I was astounded with how very autism-friendly the entire park was. When I saw the characters stim with my daughter to let her know she was being heard, it brought us tears of joy. Abby was accepted, embraced and included,” said Marcie Conn of Belle Vernon. 

     “Getting a break from her therapy and doctor appointments was such a nice change for Gaby, it was her best trip ever,” said Gaby’s mom, Calyn Cronin, of Jeanette. 

      Edie Hudson of Elizabeth expressed her gratitude as well, “Braden’s dream of flying and going to Disney came true the first week of November when Jamie’s Dream Team made it possible. Braden was able to meet Kylo Ren and ride some amazing rides. We were able to see our son smile and thoroughly enjoy himself and for that, we will be forever grateful.”  

       A quick writer’s note – my 15-year-old son, Nathan, has autism, and this trip meant the world to him. Thank you, Jamie, and your team for making this dream come true. A special thanks to all the sponsors and contributors – we couldn’t have done it without you!  

        By Paula Green 

 

 

 

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