“Give Kids The World Village saved us all,” says Kristin Parsons, who visited the Village in 2018 during her son, Casen’s wish trip. Kristen and her family returned to the Village during a special preview of Give Kids The World’s second annual Night of a Million Lights holiday lights spectacular, which will help raise funds for the Village – an 89-acre, whimsical nonprofit resort that provides critically ill children and their families with magical weeklong wish vacations at no cost.
Six-year-old Casen was born with VACTERL association, a rare disorder that causes multi-system congenital malformations – and died 18 times in the hospital due to complications from his illness. “After the trauma of endless surgeries and hospital stays, our visit to this magical storybook Village meant everything to us. We felt so included, accepted and understood, which is something we have never felt. We were able to experience happiness again and create memories together as a family away from doctor’s visits and medical treatments. The only way to describe Give Kids The World is heaven on earth.”
The Parsons are among more than 177,000 wish families from around the world who have visited Give Kids The World Village since 1986 to enjoy life-changing dream vacations that inspire joy, optimism, and enduring hope. This hidden gem is made possible by support from countless individual donors, corporate partners, and passionate volunteers, all of whom have come together once again to orchestrate Central Florida’s most dazzling holiday fundraiser. The event opened to the public on Friday, November 12th, and runs through Sunday, January 2, 2022.
Tickets are on sale now, enabling guests to immerse themselves in an exquisitely decorated fairytale neighborhood which wish families call home during their stays. Guests can watch a 360-degree dancing lights show set to music; explore a sparkling tree trail; view larger-than-life holiday displays; visit Santa in his elaborately decorated Florida home; take photos at one-of-a-kind step-in frames and backdrops; and enjoy a guided storytelling tour of dozens of magnificently lit villas from the comfort of a tram, included in the price of the ticket. A majority of the lights were donated by Walt Disney World. The event will run from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with entry times staggered to prevent crowding.
Proceeds will make it possible for Give Kids The World to continue its 35-year legacy of creating the happiness that inspires hope for wish families. When wish-granting organizations receive a request from a critically ill child who wants to visit Central Florida, Give Kids The World fulfills the wish – providing every child and his/her family with an all-inclusive dream vacation that includes transportation; accommodations in one of the Village’s 166 residential villas; all meals and snacks; donated theme park tickets; nightly entertainment; daily gifts; and priceless experiences at the Village, featuring an array of accessible rides and attractions.
“Children with critical illnesses face countless appointments, treatments and hospital stays, and they are often told “no” due to the limitations of their illness. We feel privileged to give wish children and their families a week of “yes” where they can forget their worries and recapture many of the priceless family moments that may have been missed due to a child’s illness,” said Give Kids The World President and CEO Pamela Landwirth. “We look forward to once again sharing some holiday joy with the community while raising the funds that will enable us to continue changing lives and spreading hope.”
Give Kids The World Village is located at 210 South Bass Road in Kissimmee. To learn more, visit www.gktw.org. Text to give: text NOAML to 44321.