Media Contact: Andrea Walker-Leidy
Six-year-old Conner from Davison is just like any other boy on the outside. But, diagnosed with Hemophilia as an infant, Conner has been through more in his six years than most of us will go through in a lifetime.
“It is a fear for every parent that their child might fall and hit their head but that fear is a lot more severe for a child who has hemophilia,” said Malysa, Conner’s mom. A fall is life threatening.
After hearing about The Rainbow Connection, an organization that makes dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses, Conner’s mom, Malysa, contacted them and learned Connor would indeed have a dream come true.
At his first meeting with The Rainbow Connection, Conner was already excited. Mom explained he was treated “like a little king”. “Our first meeting with Nancy, Wish Coordinator from Rainbow Connection, was beyond anything I could have imagined,” said Malysa, Conner’s mother. “She greeted Conner with a huge bag full of fun things from Legos to coloring books. Conner was so excited!”
Conner told Nancy he wanted to go on Mickey’s boat, something he’d been talking about with his parents. “We’d seen a special on television about Disney cruises and Conner was glued to it,” said Malysa. “He kept telling us for weeks that he wanted to go on ‘Mickey’s boat’.”
Conner’s dream came true in January of this year when the Rainbow Connection sent him and his family to the Western Caribbean on a very special Disney Cruise.
After a limo ride to the airport, Conner and his family were flown to Miami to the cruise trip departing to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. One night, after a special meet-and-greet with Captain Mickey, Conner came back to his room to find that Mickey had stopped by and left him a stuffed animal and a special framed photo from their visit. “We had experiences that no one else is able to have on the cruise,” said Malysa. “It was so memorable for Conner.”
Conner has had a rough couple of months since he’s been home from his Rainbow Connection wish trip. “Conner was hospitalized at U of M for two weeks with a severe infection,” Malysa explained. “He has had four surgeries since we have been back and Conner will finally get back to school in April.”
“Rainbow Connection is an amazing organization for children that endure life threatening illnesses. Even after the wish they offer opportunities throughout the year for special events that we can attend as a family as a getaway from the craziness that we call life,” said Malysa.
“They also host an annual picnic where the kids can play games and earn prizes which makes them feel normal even for the day which is huge in the eyes of these children. When a child is having a difficult time they will send packages to the kids full of activities and little things that help cheer them up during such difficult times. It is an amazing organization and I cannot thank them enough for everything that they have done for my family.”
Rainbow Connection goes above and beyond for children that go through so much already. And, even though hemophilia is treatable, it is not curable. Like many of The Rainbow Connection’s Wish Children, Conner will live with his condition forever.
Offering comfort, hope and joy, The Rainbow Connection of Michigan makes dreams come true for Wish Children like Conner every day. Nationally ranked 4-stars by Charity Navigator, the organization also provides emergency services, annual Wish Family events and college scholarships to its Wish children.
The Rainbow Connection is funding exclusively by individual and corporate donations. To find out more about The Rainbow Connection, including the very first dream come true in 1982 when 14-year-old John Bowden met his idol, Mohammad Ali visit www.rainbowconnection.org.
Photos attached courtesy of The Rainbow Connection.
Conner’s dream come true thanks to The Rainbow Connection. Conner and his mother enjoy the Disney Cruise with step-father Alex.