Make A Wish Party @ Insight

Make A Wish invited us to a party held yesterday at Insight Enterprises. It turns out that they are the ones that raised the funds for Andrew’s Make a Wish. It was so great to see the hundreds of employees that made it possible to grant Andrew’s and 25 other Make a Wish kids their wishes this quarter. They had a celebration of their successful fundraising and pulling in partners like IBM, HP, etc to help make the wishes a reality for kids like Andrew.

Andrew had so much fun with them…they even had him join in a Corn Hole tournament with the Make a Wish and Insight executives. Corn hole is a popular bean bag toss game (if you were wondering). Before each toss Andrew would take some time and get a good windup going…he definitely was working the crowd’s support before each of his turns. 🙂 Afterwards, they gave him his very own Corn Hole set. It is a very nice professional set.

We are so grateful for the many blessings that have come from Andrew’s circumstances…he truly has experience a lot more than the average kid in so many ways. He has overcome many scary situations, tough hospitalizations, but also received so many great opportunities from great organizations such as Make a Wish, Insight, Hope Kids, etc who make the rough road a little easier. In fact, I was talking with the Make a Wish folks about how much Andrew has perked up and really been doing so much better since the Disney Cruise. He really seems to have a lot more drive to keep pushing on and in some instances kind of seems to be getting better. Maybe it’s my/our perspective on things have changed since the trip, but whatever the case it’s been a very good change.

Well, I had better get ready for work. Thank you for continuing to follow Andrew’s journey in life and for your understanding when it takes me a long time to write in between posts.

Have a blessed day!

Love,
The Madonia’s

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Andrew Doing Better, Made Honor Roll, and Weakness

Andrew is doing much better. He did a great job fighting off the pneumonia at home. We were able to keep him well hydrated and out of the hospital. I’m sure the medications and IVIG helped out a lot. Thank you so much for all of you prayers as well.

We have great news to share with you. As you probably already know, Andrew is now being homeschooled through an online school. He has been working very hard and made Honor Roll this quarter. We are so proud of him!

Finally, Andrew could use prayers for a few things. He continues to struggle with weakness and has been using his wheelchair about 80% of the time out in public. This is a major change from last year when he was only using it occassionally. Also, he has really been struggling with his sensory issues. If you don’t know, his senses are heightened or extremely sensitive. For example, the feel of wind or loud noises are very uncomfortable for him. He had to wear his headphones at church today since regular noises were bothering him so much. We greatly appreciate your prayers that he will gain more strength/energy and his sensory issues would calm down.

We appreciate all of your prayers and support.

Love,
The Madonia’s

Andrew Pneumonia Update

Thank you so much for the prayers for Andrew.

He seems to be doing much better. He was up and around this weekend a little more. His sensory issues seemed to be really bothering him though. We are not sure if this is due to the illness or just a coincidence.

Also, We will schedule a follow up appointment with Andrew’s pediatrician this week to get his lungs checked again. Hopefully she will see improvement and he will just need a little more time to gain the rest of his strength back.

Thanks again for all of your prayers. They have once again helped out greatly.

Love,
The Madonia’s

Andrew has Pneumonia

Please keep Andrew in your prayers.

As many of you probably know, he has been fighting something since the last day of his Make a Wish Trip. Unfortunately, it has turned into pneumonia. We are going to try to care for him at home to avoid a hospital stay. He will be on a heavy dosage of antibiotics and a strong cough medicine. He has had a persistent cough that caused him to vomit 5 time yesterday, which in turn is making him dehydrated. Thankfully, he has a g-tube which will make it easier to keep him hydrated once we get the bad cough under control.

We will keep you posted on any significant changes in his condition.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support.

Love,
The Madonia’s

Andrew Make a Wish Trip – Final Day

Today (September 12th) marks the final day of Andrew’s Make a Wish Trip. We pulled into Port Canaveral very early this morning and breakfast is scheduled for 6:45am at Animator’s Palate. Unfortunately, it seems that Jessica, Nathaniel and Andrew are all feeling sick and very tired. It may be a good thing that we are going home today.

We grabbed our remaining bags, said good bye to our stateroom, and headed down for breakfast. It was a little sad to know that our “Dream come true” as Andrew was calling it all week was coming to an end. We had a wonderful breakfast at Animator’s Palate and then headed over to the main lobby where we people watched until the very last minute (9am). Our flight wasn’t leaving Orlando until 5pm, so we wanted to spend as much time as possible on the ship.

After debarking from the ship, we waited in line for about 30 minutes to get through customs and then boarded our bus to the airport. I think we all slept the entire 45 minute ride to the airport. Who thought having so much fun would be so exhausting. 🙂

Once at the airport we gathered all of our luggage and a cart, since we had to keep it with us until 1pm. We definitely looked like tourists with a cart full of luggage about 5 feet tall. lol. We ate lunch in the food court and then shopped the cool stores. Andrew and Nathaniel bought Harry Potter blankets while Jessica found some great things in the Disney store. Finally it was time to check in our luggage and head over to the gates.

We all needed a pick me up, so we splurged and all got Frappacinnos (sp?). The boys were pretty excited about that. While we were waiting at the gate, the boys made a spot for their stuffed Mickey and Goofy characters to sit, too.

Next, we got in the front of the line to board the plane and that’s when things turned…Andrew got sick and threw up all over right before we boarded the plane. Fortunately, another Make a Wish family was at the front of the line and offered up wipes to help clean him up, but it wasn’t enough. We took him to the bathroom and unfortunately had to take all of his clothes off. We now had a dilemna, our plane was about to leave and we didn’t have any clothes with us for Andrew. We wrapped him up in a blanket and headed to the gate to explain our situation. It turns out that the Southwest Airlines people reserved a row for us and one of the Flight Attendants (Ryan) grabbed a shirt from his own luggage to give to Andrew. The same flight attendant attended to Andrew and Nathaniel the entire trip bringing them extra water, tylenol and wet towels to help fight off their fevers. We sent a note to Southwest to let them know how much he went above and beyond the call of duty to turn a disaster into a wonderful experience.

Once we landed, as you can imagine, we were glad to be home. Modji met us with the limo to take us home and we had a great conversation with him. He had driven nearly 7000 Make a Wish kids to the airport over his 18 year career. Sometimes it is 5 or 6 in a day. What an amazing man!

Well, as we all know, all things must come to an end, but the memories made this week will last a lifetime. Thank you for following Andrew’s Make a Wish Trip. We are so blessed to have you a part of Andrew’s journey.

Love,
The Madonia’s

PS – to see the pictures, go to http://www.prayingforandrew.org

Andrew Make a Wish Trip – Day 5

Today was the big day that Andrew was waiting for…his birthday! What a special way to celebrate your birthday…on a cruise!

As soon as Andrew woke up, he wanted to open up his presents. Andrew got a Star Wars lego set and his favorite book “I Love Chocolate.” 🙂 Next we headed out for breakfast, but to our surprise Disney had decorated the door to our stateroom. Andrew kept saying “This is a dream come true.” So sweet.

After breakfast, Andrew wanted to put together his lego set so we headed back to our stateroom. We were once again surprised with a special Birthday note for Andrew and 4 gift cards to the “Arrrcade.” Plans changed a little bit, now Andrew wanted to go to the Arrrcade (you have to say it like a Pirate). He put on his Mickey gloves and we headed off for some fun racing and games.

We had a great time at the Arrrcade. Next the boys wanted to go to the Goofy sports deck where they have basketball, putt putt golf, and other sports related activities. We played basketball for a little bit and then we were visited by Max (Goofy’s boy) who played a little basketball with the boys. Max congratulated Nathaniel on making a three pointer with a big high five. All of the characters were so engaging and fun!

Later that day we came across Donald Duck who was in full cruise attire. The boys posed for pictures with him, too. Afterwards, we met Captain Gus and got his autograph along with a family picture with him. He was really nice!

We then found Donald Duck dancing in the main lobby area…Andrew wanted to get closer to see him dancing. He was in his wheelchair, so it was a little difficult with everyone that had surrounded Donald already. I think Donald recognized him from earlier and offered for Andrew to dance with him. It was such a special moment…we also have this on video.

After dancing with Donald Andrew was pretty hungry. We headed for lunch and Andrew ordered one of his favorites…Mac N’ Cheese…lots of it. lol After loading up on Mac N Cheese we deicded to go back to the room for a minute and found another surprise waiting for Andrew. Mickey Mouse had signed a stuffed animal and left it in the room for Andrew. He also gave us 3 professional pictures from the party the day before. Andrew is so proud of his Mickey Mouse. The also left us a dessert platter that we had to save for later, since we were stuffed from lunch.

Later that night we ate dinner at the amazing Animators Palate. They have TVs on the wall and I can’t figure out how they did it, but the characters carry on a conversation with you. It was really cool to see. They had a guy stand up and tell his wife that he loved her…he hestitated for second, probably in shock that the character was speaking directly to him and the character called him out on it asking him what are you waiting for? It was amazing…guess you had to be there to fully understand. The entire restaurant sang to Andrew for his birthday when the Head waiter brought out his dessert. It was very fun!

When we made it back to the room our Hostess had made a whole zoo of animals and birthday cake out of towels for Andrew. It was so cool. She made sure to make an elephant, since that is his favorite animal.

Nathaniel and Jessica were starting to feel sick, so they stayed back in the room to get some much needed rest while Andrew and I went on to see a show called “Believe.” We had to be escorted through the bottom of the ship to get to the handicapped seating. It was really cool to see where all of the workers sleep. They have water tight doors that we had to wait to open and close before we could move to each section…it was a little eery to know that we were underwater there…reminded me of the movie the titanic. Anyways, the show was absolutely amazing! Andrew was all smiles throughout it. Afterwards we met a very nice couple from Georgia that volunteer at a free yearly camp in Florida for kids (and their families) with life threatening conditions. We gave them a praying for andrew bracelet, so hopefully we will reconnect soon. It sounds like an amazing camp.

That pretty much sums up the day…it was a great birthday for Andrew filled with so many surprises, special memories and fun!

Have a blessed day!

Love,
The Madonia’s

PS – You can view all of the pictures at http://www.prayingforandrew.org

Andrew Make a Wish Trip – Day 4

Day 4 started off very sunny, but even the bright sun couldn’t wake Andrew up in the morning. His Mitochondrial Disease was starting to catch up with him…he was so exhausted. It took a little while, but with a little coaxing and promises of Mickey Mouse waffles he decided to get up.

It was another special day, we had pulled into Castaway Cay…Disney’s own island in the Bahamas. We had a great day planned ahead of us, including swimming with Sting Rays, a party with Mickey Mouse and it was our 13th Anniversary.

After breakfast, we headed off the ship and ran into Daisy Duck, who glady stopped to take pictures with the boys. Castaway Cay was absolutely beautiful with crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. While in the ocean, someone brought over a sea cucumber for us to see. It was so cool! You will also see this in the video when we have it ready.

After about an hour at the beach we headed over to swim with the Sting Rays. Unfortunately, a storm came sweeping in and kept us stuck underneath the Sting Ray Pavillion for a few hours. Andrew’s wheelchair was still out in the open on the beach, but a few brave Disney workers quickly grabbed it and put it underneath a few umbrellas so it wouldn’t get wet/damaged from the storm. Luckily we had our sand toys with us, so the boys made volcanoes and sand castles during the storm. After the storm subsided our Sting Ray adventure was cancelled, but we made the best of it spending the money on souvenirs instead. 😉

It was lunch time now and a big BBQ was being put on by the Disney crew. We enjoyed our lunch and then headed back to the ship to clean up in time for the big party with Mickey Mouse. We were once again surprised with cheese and crackers from Make a Wish and Disney.

It was so cool that Mickey Mouse put together a party just for the Make a Wish kids and their families. They all colored pictures for him and he lovingly accepted them for his collection. He posed for pictures with each child, and then their families. Rumor had it that we were going to get prints of the pictures before the end of the cruise. What a great time!

The night ended with a romantic dinner at Palo for our 13th Anniversary. Jessica enjoyed being wined and dined. I was a little nervous however, since I didn’t realize that I agreed to buy a bottle of wine…we had a little communication barrier with our waiter. 😉 I think he pulled a fast one on me…anyways I was afraid that I just bought a $300 bottle of wine. It turned out to be only $48. lol. Anyways, it ended up being our best Anniversary dinner ever.

Afterwards, we picked up the boys from the kids area and rushed over to the ever anticipated Pirate party. They had our same spots up front reserved for us. The boys had a blast seeing Captain Hook and his crew take over the ship, but not for long…Mickey and his crew won it back and saved the day. Thank goodness!

Afterwards, we headed back to the room to a creepy looking monkey hanging from the drapes. However, Andrew had money from Make a Wish burning a hole in his pocket, so we headed to the cruise shops. Andrew bought the much sought after Golden Mickey and made sure that he got a picture with Pirate Goofy while holding it. We tried to get him to buy the “Its my birthday” hat for tomorrow, but he would only wear it long enough for the picture.

A very long day, but filled with many more great memories. More to come tomorrow…

PS – to view all of the pictures go to http://www.prayingforandrew.org.

Love,
The Madonia’s