I started volunteering at Give Kids the World today. For those who are unfamiliar with GKTW, this vacation spot is meant for children with disabilities and/or life-threatening diseases. Some people think it would be very difficult to volunteer in a place where you see sick kids all the time. But this is a place where kids can come without being poked and prodded and just be kids. They offer wheelchairs that can go in pools, they have parties, they have dinners, games, all kinds of activities. And it's all paid for. The families stay in villas set up like a neighborhood. They travel to theme parks, the beach if they can, or they just hang out and enjoy their time together. Here are a few observations from today:
-A 9-year-old girl who was in a coma in December and her family never thought they'd be able to travel to Florida. She went to Disney and couldn't make the walk from the tram to the gate, but after getting her nails painted at the spa in GKTW, her long day was a little more bearable.
-An 8-year-old boy who went to Disney on Saturday, his 2nd day in town. He ended up in the hospital Saturday night. The cancer in his blood takes a lot out of him. He was thrilled to get an airbrush tattoo at the spa with his younger brother.
-Siblings who offered all the support they could, no matter how old they were.
And last but not least, parents who, no matter what's happened to their families, were excited to see their kids happy. They are some of the strongest people I've ever met considering they don't know how much longer they have with these brilliant kids.
I booked spa appointments, helped kids pick out tattoos, and heard about how much fun they had seeing Shamu. It was wicked awesome.