Life with Multiple Sclerosis and Disney World

I would trade my Multiple Sclerosis experience at the drop of a hat, but if I have to weather this storm, I’ll take advantage of the rainbows! A motorized wheelchair at Disney World is definitely a rainbow!

I adopted a four year old girl from my cousin’s foster home. Lilli grew up to be a happy, beautiful now 17yr old, but it wasn’t always that way. She had a very difficult beginning. After her birth mom, a paranoid schizophrenic, seriously abused her, Lilli was abandoned at the age of 10 months and put into my cousin’s foster home.

The first few years after we adopted Lilli were difficult for her and for us. Suffering from attachment disorder, being taken out of my cousin’s temporary home and being put into ours made her feel like she was abandoned by my cousin, the only mother she ever knew.

When Lilli was 8 years old, I learned about the Sunshine Foundation who granted wishes to terminally ill and abused children.

Lilli’s greatest wish was to go to the Cinderella Castle at Disney World. Her wish was granted and the Sunshine Foundation flew the entire family to Florida for 5 glorious days at Disney World! Lilli was the happiest child ever!

The dream came true for my 8 year old and the whole family benefited! We had the most spectacular vacation that we thought would never be possible!

Disney World December 2001
I was in the beginning stages of Multiple Sclerosis. I was still able to walk short distances with the assistance of a cane, but walking long distances and standing in lines for long periods of time was out of the question. My husband rented a motorized wheelchair for under $50 a day and I was as mobile as the kids!

Lilli was the most popular member of our family for getting us there, I took over in the hierarchy of popularity when I was able, by virtue of the wheelchair, to get all ten of us in the front of every line. I wouldn’t allow any pictures to be taken with me in the wheelchair, I wasn’t ready to admit that it was a necessity.

I’ll say it again, I would trade my MS experience at the drop of a hat, but if I have to weather this storm, I’ll take advantage of the rainbows!

Have you had the opportunity to take your children to Disney World? Hopefully you didn’t need a motorized wheelchair, but if you did, was it an emotional stress for you, as it was for me, cutting in front of all the people waiting in line?

Linda

About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created MSrelief.com. She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.

22 Comments:

  1. Hi Linda

    What wonderful memories you must have of that very special trip. And you have such a lovely way of turning a situation into rainbows 🙂 I admire your courage and I’m sure your family do too.

    BTW Did your Mum receive your birthday gift yet? Hope she liked it.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Thank you Patricia for visiting my blog! I really wasn’t expecting company! I’m sorry it’s such a mess… what are the excuses we use when a friend drops by our home unexpectedly? Excuse the mess, I had to work late….

      Yes, mom LOVED her lavendar gift!!! I meant to tell you but I was too busy working on my house :). She said it was perfect! She has it in her closet and everytime she enters she has the wooosh of lavender in the air! You did a great job getting it to her in time for her birthday, thank you!

  2. I love this post – totally kewl!!! Well done! I’m coming back to this one …

    Wheelchairs

  3. Linda

    I love this story of hope and rainbows!! Thanks for sharing. I have been to Disneyland with my children when they were young. I was using a cane at the time after a car accident. I didn’t get to the front of any lines, but I did climb to the top of the Swift Family Robin’s Tree House. Something my aunt didn’t think I could or should do, It did take a while but it was worth it.

    Have a Great Day
    Chester

    • Chester,
      I can imagine your aunt trying to stop you! You men are so gutsy! I really want to get the word out that the fun and exciting experiences like theme parks don’t have to be stopped because we have MS!
      Linda

  4. What an awesome, beautiful experience, not only for Lilli, but for your whole family!

    And it touches my heart in a special way today, because our family is experiencing something similar… in a much smaller way, yet huge for us.

    Our son Nathaniel was among 145 or so children in the Edmonton area, 6 of them from his school, to go to Disneyland with Dreams Take Flight. It’s only one day… today, May 4, 2011… and it’s only Nathaniel… but the whole family is so excited for him, and in a big sense we are all enjoying this special day with him.

    Thanks for sharing your story… I don’t think it’s any accident that I am reading it today.

    Willena Flewelling

    • Willena~
      You’re right, it’s great that you read this post today! I’m happy for your son! I understand the excitement for the family being able to take part in his good fortune! How did they chose the children to go? Was it a lottery, good grades and behavior? I’m curious! It’s exciting!
      Linda

      • Hi Linda,

        Dreams Take Flight takes children who are disadvantaged in some way… poverty, abuse, physically or mentally challenged… It isn’t only schools, but other organizations as well where they find the children. I’m not exactly sure how they narrow it down to just half a dozen children from a school of over 500. And I’m not sure why Nathaniel was chosen.

        Mrs. Benham, the teacher who accompanied our Westlock children, called me 16 months ago to say that Nathaniel had been chosen as an “alternate”, and that if he wasn’t chosen that year, he would be at the head of the list for this year. A certain number of children were nominated, and I believe Dreams Take Flight chose the half dozen who would go from each school/organization.

        Nathaniel is not physically or mentally handicapped, and he is certainly not abused. But it’s certainly true we could never afford to do anything like that for him! He is the youngest of 7, and none of our children have been anywhere until they were old enough to work full time and save the money for themselves. None of them have been to Disneyland or Disney World before.

        I suspect one factor in Nathaniel’s having been chosen is the fact that he lost his big brother just before Christmas in 2009. James was 25, and died in a highway accident one bitterly cold night when the air was patchy with thick ice fog. I may be wrong, but I do wonder.

        Whatever the reason, it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to do for the children, and it’s something Nathaniel will never forget.

        Willena

        • Willena~
          Thank you for sharing! That sounds to me like flat out Divine influence! What a blessing! I’m very sorry for the death of your son, my prayers are with you and yours.

          I can totally relate with the 7 kids! It’s amazing what kids come up with when they don’t have parents to pay for everything! We know we did it, they can too!
          Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow!
          Linda

  5. Hi there Linda
    A lovely share which will touch the hearts of may, it certainly did mine. Your blog is full of hope and great teaching through your personal experiences.
    Your experience at Disney has caused a ripple in the lake of hope which will effect many very positively indeed.
    Best wishes

    Peter

    • Hey Peter~
      Thank you for visiting my blog~ I really hope that other people with this dreaded disease will find joy as I have in spite of the MS.
      Linda

  6. Hey Linda,

    You are an amazing person Linda, … 8 kids and 5 grand children! You are someone who truly lives by the rule that we should leave the world a better place then when we entered it. I’m sure that Lilli and the rest of your children and grand children know how blessed they are to have a person of such incredible strength be a part of their lives.

    I have just made a honorary donation to the Sunshine Foundation in your name.

    I look forward to visiting your blog again to hear more inspiring stories.

    Kevin

    • Thank you Kevin! You’re kind with all the complements, I appreciate it! I just got off an MS call, the social worker was talking about figuring out what we can do, given this disease that we have no control over, and I said blog! I’m having a blast sharing my story and getting all these compliments! 🙂
      Linda

  7. Hey Linda,
    Great post and certainly thankful for getting the chance to read it. Disney World is a magical place…. I’m a big admirer of Walt Disney and his big vision. That’s what Disney does, bring out the lost dreams and big vision in people. I am bringing my kids to the park this very Saturday.
    So glad to read your story here.

    Deepest,
    James

  8. Linda, you are such an amazing woman.
    Thank you for sharing this story on your blog.
    I don’t have children yet and I am sure when I’ll have they’ll be so excited to visit these parks.
    I took myself to Disneyland a couple of times though (it is closer). My first time was when I was 16, and came to visit the US (from Israel) with my parents. I was enchanted.
    We are crazy about Harry Potter and would love one day to visit that park in Orlando.

    Keep up the amazing sharings, you are full of treasures and I am enjoying shining out through your blog.

    Much love, light and joy,
    Sigal Zoldan
    Clinical Hypnotherapist & Master Results Coach

    • Sigal,
      I love to see you’re beautiful face! You are so full of love and kindness! Reading your comment makes me smile the whole way through!
      It will be fun getting to know you and hearing your stories!
      Linda

  9. Hi linda,
    I have the same problem with Ms, I’m planning a trip to Disney in two months to celebrate my son’s first birthday and i’m concerned about my health, everyday I walk less and less but refuse to accept the fact a wheel chair is just around the corner waiting for me. I dont want pictures while I’m in it and….

    • Dayan,
      I can TOTALLY relate!!!! Just like I said in the post, if we have to weather this storm of MS, we need to enjoy the rainbows! Your son will LOVE riding on your lap! I think it costs $50/day for the motorized wheelchair, it is definitely worth the money!!! The independence it gives us wonderful! I didn’t want my picture showing my cane or the wheelchair

      As far as the future, you’ve got it my mind! MANY people have said they ‘cured’ their MS, some with MS pharmaceuticals, some with food, some with yoga, many with emotional clearing, some with different supplements. I am now following Montel Williams because I believe he has the right idea, great diet, exercise, supplements and pharmaceuticals~

      Come back and visit me often! Let me know how your Disney trip turns out!
      Linda

  10. Excuses my English, I’m Hispanic and..This is the first time in four years since I have been diagnosed I write in a blog about Ms. Your story will help me…Thanks

    • Dayan,
      Is you blog available to the public? If it is, leave the URL here so I can read it! One of my good friends came over here from Cuba, are you here in the US? Your English sounds great!
      Linda

  11. You’re so interesting! I do not believe I have read through something like that before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

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