I met a little boy in a wheelchair yesterday at Give Kids the World Village, who was obviously blind with other serious health concerns. Several on our mission team were in charge of operating the rides. After we got this boy strapped in safely to this ride that performs like a swing, I patted him gently on his hand and thanked him for riding with us. He gripped my hand tightly and felt my ring and watch. There was no expression on his face. It was obvious that I was a stranger to him, but I assured him that his mom and dad would be next to him through the entire ride. His mom and dad had seen other children with terminal illnesses laughing and having the time of their lives. It was obvious their son had never been able to experience anything like this before, and they hoped he would find similar enjoyment as the other children. Once the ride lifted off the ground, he gripped the padded bar in front of him tightly. Then, as the swing went higher and higher, the contagious giggle began from the little boy, which grew quickly into a nonstop belly laugh. His parents were as thrilled as he was, and we were all touched by the constant love of his parents and the absolute joy this little boy was experiencing.
“Where Happiness Inspires Hope” is the motto at Give Kids the World Village, and through the years, we have been taught that a simple smile, hug, and offering a selfless attitude by investing in the lives of these terminally ill children are all making incredible improvements to their health. I didn’t understand that concept for years, but that little boy became a recipient of Make A Wish Foundation over five years ago, and the doctors had given him only a few more months to live. Now I understand why the grandparents were smiling and crying simultaneously. They had heard all about their grandson’s experience at Give Kids the World Village, but now they were experiencing it first hand for the first time. It wasn’t something they were only hearing about – now they were living it. Make the most of the opportunities in front of you to inspire hope by sharing happiness. Love those around you and smile while loving.
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