Make a Wish: Party celebrates dream vacation

Becky Wendel of Conway, Carson’s grandmother, said the family was living in Louisiana when Carson was diagnosed with leukemia. They moved back to Arkansas because they had no family there. Her daughter stays home with the children. William is an operations manager for Martin Brower in Little Rock.

Michelle Nabholz, a close friend of the family, said Carson underwent extensive chemotherapy, but his body did not tolerate it well. New treatment will begin in January, and his doctor recently decided it was time for Carson to have his wish, she said.

The wish-enhancement party serves as the icing on the cake – an exciting event for parents to break the good news to their child that his wish has been granted. Carson’s wish enhancement party involved a whole cast of Disney characters, hamburgers and hot dogs, candy and cake, and more.

Michelle headed up the surprise event. She said Chesapeake Energy sponsored Carson’s wish to go to Walt Disney World. All services for the wish-enhancement party were donated, including the room at Hendrix College, a limousine ride from Celebration Limo, and a Cinderella-style carriage from Princess’ Carriage of Rose Bud (White County).

She noted volunteers included members of Delta Beta Sigma sorority; Freewill Baptist Church, where the family attends; and the Toad Suck Queens, of which Michelle is a member.

When everything was prepared for the family’s arrival, the hall was filled with guests and tables were covered in Disney-themed decorations. Balloons reached for the ceiling, and food filled tables in several parts of the room.

Carson’s grandmother, Becky, felt “thrilled that our community, our church family, our friends and family all think enough of us to put on such a nice celebration for them.

“It’s magical how everyone pulled together and committed their time. It all just came together.”
When the family arrived after their limo ride, they were greeted by a round of applause from about 300 friends, family and supporters. Mickey Mouse appeared along with a whole cast of Disney characters, followed by Cinderella singing “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

“This is unbelievable,” said William. “When he was first diagnosed, we lived in Baton Rouge. We were told there was no way we could do this without family. Now it’s not just our family, we have a whole community. We’ve had a lot of support from friends and family within the community.”

Bonnie said, “It’s amazing – everybody working together to do something like this while our family’s going through this.”

After the family was welcomed by the cast of characters, they were invited to visit with their friends and have a meal. Later, they were taken on a magical carriage ride.

The family was set to leave for Disney World the following Monday.

Kay Johnson, Carson’s great-grandmother, said, “I think Carson’s really going to enjoy himself. I think the whole family will. It’s been a long, hard road for them.”