The following is a guest blog post by BrittanySalazar, the mother of a 2018 Kidd’s Kids participant.
Southwest Airlines and Kidd's Kids are truly making dreams come true! My daughter, Meredith, is a strong and amazing little girl—she has been fighting through her medical journey with remarkable grace and strength. This incredible trip to Disney World could not have come at a better time.
Meredith's story began in November 2017. Overall, she’s had a healthy childhood aside from the occasional visits to the doctor for colds, little viruses, and vaccinations. However, in late November at nine years old, she started to complain about joint pains. I took her to the pediatrician and listed her complaints. The doctor’s initial thought was that she might be stressed or getting bullied at school. We left with guidance to focus on her nutrition. A few days passed and Meredith was growing weaker, so we returned to the doctor’s office. This time a chest x-ray and lab work revealed pneumonia.
Following several more trips to the doctor, a week on the prescription for pneumonia, and additional weight lost, we ended up in the Children's Emergency Room, where we remained for a couple weeks. After going through numerous tests, Meredith was diagnosed with lupus on Christmas morning. During our stay in the hospital, the lupus had affected her brain, kidneys, lungs, heart, skin, and bladder.
She was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and also had lupus nephritis and central nervous system involvement including vasculitis in her brain. Because of Meredith's multiple organ involvement, they chose to be aggressive with her treatments, which included chemotherapy and high dose steroid infusions for eight months to get it in remission. Currently, she is taking more than 20 pills a day to keep everything under control. Right now, we are focusing on managing the disease and avoiding triggers that could cause her lupus to flare again.
Meredith and her six year old sister Kiley have always dreamed of going to Orlando to experience the magic of Disney. When we checked the mail and saw the invitation from Kidd's Kids, we were overwhelmed with emotion and immediately started crying happy tears. Meredith is most excited to make new friends with the other Kidd's Kids families, meet all the Disney characters at the park, and enjoy the rides!
Southwest is honored to fly 51 families to Orlando for a magical five-day all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World for the 2018 Kidd’s Kids trip. This is the 12th year for Southwest to partner with Kidd’s Kids.