LUMBERTON — Thirteen-year-old Isaac Jacobs has always wanted to go to Disney World.
Thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation, Isaac has learned that sometimes dreams do come true.
Isaac, who was diagnosed in December with Adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, has received five tickets through the foundation to go to the happiest place on Earth.
“Even in small communities, these organizations can and will help,” Isaac’s mother, Amy, said at a party at Golden Corral Thursday during which the family was presented with the tickets. “They focus on the child.”
The disease is rare but most commonly affects healthy boys between the ages of 4 and 10. Since December, Isaac has lost his vision and suffers from chronic shaking.
According to stopald.org, symptoms begin with withdrawal and difficulty concentrating and rapidly progresses to blindness, deafness, seizures, loss of muscle control and progressive dementia.
Amy said Isaac, before his diagnosis, was an active child who loved playing baseball and spending time with his pets. Although he’s lost some ability to communicate with his family, Amy says he still lets them know he’s having a good time and she knows he will do the same when they leave for Disney World soon.
“He always wanted to go to Disney World when he was well,” she said. “He still communicates with us and he knows when he’s having fun.”
Isaac will travel to Florida with his father, mother, sister and brother in July. Make a Wish Eastern North Carolina picked up the tab for a rental car, all meals and lodging, park hopper tickets to Disney World’s four amusement parks and tickets to Lego Land and SeaWorld. His trip will last a week.
Additionally, Make a Wish presented the family with blue arm bands that will allow Isaac and his family priority when they get in line for rides and character visits.
Jeannie Rodbell and Andrea Firth, volunteers for the Make a Wish Eastern North Carolina, said Isaac just stuck with them.
“He was such an active child and this came on without warning,” Rodbell said.
Rodbell and Firth, who both live in Oak Island, travel to cities east of Raleigh to make wishes come true.
The Make a Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to bring them hope, strength, joy and a smile during times of hardship. Make a Wish Eastern North Carolina grants more than 200 wishes a year in 49 counties in North Carolina, and five have been in Robeson County this year.
“I just want people to know that organizations like this can really help,” Amy said. “They never asked me how much I made or ever asked me for anything like some other organizations would. The volunteers have been great. They do home visits and they really care about the child.”