The Elsasser Family

Four years ago, following major brain surgery, Benjamin was diagnosed with having low grade optical glioma. The tumor was not removed because it would have made him blind. The 70 weeks of chemo treatment followed and the prognosis was that the doctors would do what they could to preserve his vision but ultimately he would become totally blind.  As conditions allowed, surgeries were performed to gradually remove the tumor, the latest one just last January. The recovery from his third surgery has been extremely difficult for Benjamin and little did we know that when we were presented with our Florida trip package in September how desperately we would need it. Our Trip was booked for March and our goal was not to get Benjamin to smile but to make him laugh – something he hadn’t done since his surgery. We had an amazing adventure! The angels at Give Kids the World were always helpful. Food was great and I was thrilled that they accommodated my soy allergy.

Benjamin being the science guy was thrilled to see the geckos running around the resort.  One of them made a visit to our villa on the first day, and an armadillo encounter came on day two!

We packed all the excitement we possibly could into one week. We saw Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Hollywood Studios, Sea World, Universal Studios-Islands of Adventure and the Kennedy Space Center. We drove by an alligator while on the Space center reserve – clearly the reptiles knew that Benjamin was coming.

Our goal to make Benjamin laugh didn’t quite happen down there – he was still recovering from surgery. But when I showed him a picture from one of the funny shows we saw, he actually started to laugh just enough for us to know that the experience has most definitely led to a new step on his road to recovery.

It was a much needed break from the routine and it sparked his mind into action. The memories will last a lifetime; I can’t wait to get the pictures into a scrapbook and videos together.

Thank you Help A Child Smile! This trip was amazing and it was a lot of firsts for the boys; starting with the limo to the plane, the plane and into Florida.  And I did manage to capture those smiles!