Last week, Southwest Airlines set off to achieve a very important task—to fly 52 children with life-altering conditions and their families to Orlando, Florida, for a five-day, all-expenses paid vacation to Disney World, courtesy of Kidd’s Kids. Flights with Kidd’s Kids departed from 11 different cities throughout the country.
One excited family shared their story prior to takeoff:
Aaleyah was a happy, healthy girl until being hospitalized for a high fever at only nine-months old. While being treated for her fever, Aaleyah was intubated incorrectly, which caused her to suffer a stroke in the left side of her brain. The doctors swore Aaleyah would never speak, see, or move ever again. However, Aaleyah’s mother, Amber, had hope, and after years of therapy, Aaleyah finally began to respond. Gradually she has regained her speech, her sight, and finally her mobility. Today, she is one of the precious children joining Kidd’s Kids on their trip to Disney World. Today she enjoys singing, doing gymnastics, and playing with her family.
When asked if she liked to fly, she laughed and said, “I like the takeoff and the landing!” Aaleyah said she is so thankful for the opportunity Kidd’s Kids has given her. Her mother, Amber, said, “This would never have been possible without Southwest and Kidd’s Kids. I can’t find a word to describe how this opportunity makes us feel.” Aaleyah had just the word. “Special!”
Customer, Ben Helvin on Facebook put it best when he said, “Every child deserves the chance to just be a kid.” We couldn’t agree more!
Southwest Employees made sure the flights were unforgettable. Whether it was seeing the plush, purple carpet where they were cheered on as they boarded their red, blue, and yellow carriage or interacting with the Southwest Employees dressed in character, these little princes and princesses were thrilled to start their memorable journey.
We hope Aaleyah and all of the other Kidd’s Kids had the most magical, fun-filled experience as they traveled to a place of dreams, laughter, and imagination!
In the ten years we’ve partnered with Kidd’s Kids, we’ve had the privilege of flying more than 500 families to Orlando for this memorable trip. Thank you to all of the Southwest Warriors who made this an incredible experience for so many children and their families.