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Clear Laker gets Disney wish fulfilled



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Standing in Disney’s Magic Kingdom are Oxford resident Susan Aisthorpe and her daughters Faith, 4, Megan, 17, and Lindsey, 9. Photo provided. (click for larger version)
February 09, 2011 - It's every little kid's fantasy, but for 5-year-old Faith Aisthorpe, it was a fun-filled reality.

The Clear Lake Elementary kindergartner and her family recently visited Disney World in Florida, courtesy of the Kids Wish Network.

"I was speechless half the time just watching her smile," said her mother Susan Aisthorpe. "She was so happy to even ride in the elevator. Everything excited her. It was really heartwarming to watch her have so much fun because she goes through so much."

The Jan. 27-31 trip was Faith's reward for having spent most of her young life bravely battling cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract.

It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults, and may result in early death.

Faith was diagnosed with the disease as a toddler. For the first three years of her life, she was in a hospital almost every other month due to complications from her illness.

She's even endured surgery to correct damage done to the lining of her esophagus caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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Clear Lake kindergartner Faith Aisthorpe is all smiles standing with Cinderella. (click for larger version)
Faith continues to deal with sinus issues, digestive issues and life-threatening lung infections.

"The lung infections are what usually put her in the hospital," Susan said.

The trip was a wonderful and much-deserved break from a reality that often steals large chunks of Faith's childhood.

"Just to get out of the everyday routine of taking her medicines and going to the hospital was nice," Susan said. "It was good for her to have some different scenery, instead of the same old thing all the time."

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While in sunny Orlando, the Aisthorpe family – which included sisters Megan, 17, and Lindsey, 9, a fourth-grader at Clear Lake – visited all that Disney World has to offer including SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and the famous Magic Kingdom.

"She liked SeaWorld and the Magic Kingdom," Susan said.

"I got to see Goofy," Faith said.

Faith enjoyed meeting Dr. Seuss' famous 'Cat in the Hat' and 'The Grinch' at Universal Studios.

She also loved having dinner with Cinderella and her cast of fairytale friends.

"I think that was probably her highlight of the people she got to meet," Susan said.

Based in Holiday, Florida, the Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories and improving the quality of life for children who experience life-altering situations.

"They're great. They're amazing," Susan said.

The whole experience was handled by Kids Wish Network staff in a manner that was most professional, helpful and easy-to-understand, from the initial phone call all the way to Orlando.

"They're really good people," Susan said.

The Kids Wish Network had a lot of help making the Aisthorpe family's visit to Disney World possible.

Contributing to the effort were the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 3373, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, VFW Post 2052 Striber-McVicar Post, VFW Post 334 North Oakland Post, Compassion Partners, Wonderworks, Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Royal Plaza Hotel, Smokey Bones and Bahama Breeze.

For more information, please visit www.kidswishnetwork.org.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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