The following blog was written by Carly Vickery, the mother of Braely, whose family attended the 2013 Kidd’s Kids trip. Braely was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta at six weeks old and underwent two open heart surgeries before the age of 3.
Having undergone so much at such an early age, Braely is one of the strongest people I have ever met. She constantly strives to keep up with other children her age in both sports and other activities, and now 14 years old, you would have no idea that anything is wrong by just looking at her. We try to live our lives as normally as possible, however, with three children and the high cost of medical equipment and bills, big family trips are out of the question for us.
In the fall of 2013, our family received the surprise of a lifetime—we were selected to attend the Kidd’s Kids trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. My husband and I never could have dreamed of taking our family on a trip like this. This was our first true family vacation, and it wasn’t just any vacation; it was first class all the way!
Our trip started with a chartered Southwest Airlines plane filled with Kidd’s Kids families. I can’t say enough about Southwest – they helped everyone with their bags, children with wheelchairs, and even let the kids see the controls in the cockpit before takeoff. Every kid was a superstar! Once we got to Disney World, Kidd’s Kids was so amazing to us. They took care of all our expenses: hotel, meals, park passes, and countless gifts and souvenirs. Kidd’s Kids also brought a medical staff team who made it possible for Kidd’s Kids, parents, and siblings to enjoy rides that a medical child would not typically get to ride. They made sure that everyone on the trip—not just the Kidd’s Kids—was taken care of. After all, this trip is meant for families to forget about doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, and treatments...and to just have fun. It is, by far, one of the best memories of our lives!
Southwest Airlines has proudly supported The Kraddick Foundation for the past eight years by not only providing the chartered flight and tickets for the Kidd’s Kids trip, but also by hosting the Kidd’s Kids Day telethon at Southwest’s headquarters. Of course, this doesn’t even mention the many Southwest Employees who have a heart for this organization including the flight crews who volunteer their time onboard the charter flights and the nearly 150 Employees who give their time working the telethon and the sendoff event.In 2014, Kidd’s Kids Day raised $420,000 through telephone, text, and online donations with more than $41,000 of those total donations coming from the telethon. The money raised on Kidd’s Kids Day directly funds the Kidd’s Kids trip and without the generous donations from The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show listeners and fans, this once in a lifetime opportunity would not be possible for families like The Vickerys.If you would like to donate to the 2015 Kidd’s Kids trip, please call 888-SWA-KIDZ on Wednesday, October 21st from 6:00am to 12:00pm CST, text KIDD to 52000 to donate $10, or make an online donation in the amount of your choice at www.KiddsKids.com.