William Ryder’s parents are trying to raise money to send their seriously ill son on a trip of a lifetime. Catherine Scott reports.
William Ryder’s smile lights up the room – none more so than when he is watching his favourite Mickey Mouse.
But the six-year-old suffers from a number of complex medical conditions and so his parents never thought they would be able to take him to see his hero in Disney World Florida. However William is one of just 25 children with lilfe limiting conditions in the country to be chosen by the charity Caudwell Children to visit Disney World.
Now the family has to raise a proportion of the costs of the £12,000 to make William’s dream come true.
“William is a miracle children,” says mum Michelle from Goldthorpe. “He and his twin were conceived on our seventhcycle of IVF. But sadly I miscarried his twin and that caused William to have a seizure. I then developed preeclampsia and William had to be delivered at 27 weeks and we were told there was a very high chance he might not survive. He did but there have bneen many times when we feared we may lose him.”
Michelle gave up her job to become William’s full-time carer as he need 24 hours supervision. He also has epilepsy, has lost the vision in his right eye, and can only walk short distances in familiar surroundings. William, a pupil at Heatherwood Special School, in Doncaster, loves everything to do with Disney, so to get some much needed respite from his condition, and to make some amazing memories, his parents Michelle and Paul, decided to apply for a place for their son on Caudwell Children’s annual Destination Dreams holiday to Disney World, in Florida. Michelle, 42, says that the family were delighted when William, who also recently had a stroke, was offered a place on the trip. However, the race is now on to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of the holiday.
“We were so happy to learn that we were one of only 25 families to have been selected for the dream trip, we simply couldn’t believe it.
“The families are really well looked after as the charity provide a dedicated team of paediatric doctors and nurses on the trip who are available 24/7. This is really important for us as we’ve only ever been on a plane once before, when we flew to Portugal, but that was before William’s stroke.
“The fact that there will be a team of paediatric doctors and nurses on the flight gives us real confidence as we’d be scared to fly as far as Florida on our own with William.”
The charity also take along over 40 volunteers to assist families around the theme parks.
“Because of the associated costs of taking very poorly children overseas the charity has to pay, on average, £12,000 per family,” explains Michelle. “The insurance alone would be unaffordable for us now.
“But with the current economic climate there’s always the risk that they won’t be able to raise enough money by the time the holiday comes around in December 2018.
“Therefore, all the families on the holiday have decided to appeal to their local community to ensure that we get on that plane to Florida, in December.”
The family has been asked to raise £1,200 towards the trip of a lifetime.
“William simply adores Mickey,” says Dad Paul, 40. “Although he’s non-verbal he has a wonderful smile, which strangers stop and comment about, so we know when he’s happy and he’s never happier than when he’s watching his favourite mouse.”
Michelle, says that the holiday is important for all the family. “Life has been difficult for the last five years and we’ve had to deal with things on our own with no real family support.We’ve had to spend so much time in hospital and it’s been quite draining. Nothing would make us happier than going to Disney World. To see William meeting Mickey Mouse, in person, would make magical memories that we could treasure forever.
“I just hope the public support our fundraising campaign.”
Trudi Beswick, chief executive from Caudwell Children, is urging the community to get behind the family’s appeal.“For many families caring for children with terminal or life-threatening conditions the thought of leaving the protected environment of their own home town, and their medical support, fills them with dread.
“By providing 24-hour professional medical provision and a team of volunteers, for the duration of the trip. Unfortunately, the level of assistance that the families need doesn’t come cheap.
“That’s why it’s vital that William and the family get the fundraising support that they so desperately need and deserve.”
To support William visit www.justgiving.com/holiday4williamr
You can also donate by texting: PEAL90 then the £amount to 70070