Alisa’s father was diagnosed with a metabolic disorder affecting the nerve cells in his brain. She watched for years as he battled, and eventually succumbed to the condition. When he was just a week old, her son Justin was diagnosed with the same disorder.
Justin has faced regular visits to the doctor for MRIs and blood draws since birth. He has been on a low-fat diet since day one, and numerous other treatments, all to slow down the progression of his condition. This has become routine for Justin and Alisa.
“The oil part was difficult as first,” Alisa said, “but now it’s part of his daily life.”
One day, Alisa spoke with a Make-A-Wish® ambassador at the Wright County Fair and was encouraged to refer Justin for a wish. Justin wished to go to Walt Disney World® Resort and in 2009, his wish came true!
Justin and his family spent a week visiting the different Disney® theme parks where Justin had the chance to fight Darth Vader and the dark side of The Force. They were all finally able to have a worry-free, exciting vacation that gave the entire family a chance to forget about doctor’s appointments, even if only for a week. Alisa said Justin felt like a king the entire time.
“From beginning to end, it was just one exciting experience after another,” Alisa said. “I loved watching this little boy have all these awesome experiences. His eyes would get so big and so happy.”
Justin, now 14, is participating in medical studies and continues to stay involved with Make-A-Wish Minnesota by participating in the annual Walk For Wishes® and sharing his experience at the annual Wish Ball gala. He has even donated part of his earnings as an actor to help wishes come true for other Minnesota kids.
“We have a very warm place in our hearts for Make-A-Wish,” said Alisa. “We feel so amazed by the experience and we think every family should be able to have that opportunity.”
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