The Make-A-Wish Foundation® & Disney Celebrate the 50,000th Disney Theme Park Wish
Five-Year-Old Christian Marlowe's Wish to Visit Disneyland Park & Meet Mickey Mouse Comes True!
ANAHEIM, Calif. (October 6, 2005) - Christian Marlowe, a 5-year-old from Coos Bay, Ore., was all smiles today aboard a magic carpet when he, along with the Genie from Aladdin, a huge magic lamp and a special cake, arrived in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland for a ceremony in his honor. Christian is the 50,000th child to have a Disney theme park wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Disney. His special wish was simple: he wanted to visit Disneyland and meet Mickey Mouse.
In attendance with Christian, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was his brother Anthony, his sister Jennifer and his parents Lisette and Alex. Also recognized during the ceremony was Octaviana Trujillo, who is the mother of Frank "Bopsy" Salazar - the very first child to have a wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Disney 25 years ago. More than 75 other past and present wish children from around the U.S. and abroad also gathered as ambassadors for the week-long celebration, which also commemorates Make-A-Wish's 25th Anniversary.
In addition to being a part of the 50,000th wish celebration, the ambassadors were featured guests during a Cinderella-themed birthday party last night, and they will ride in a Disneyland parade, enjoy a performance of Disney's "Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular" and attend a live concert at Disney's California Adventure Park during the rest of the week.
"Through all of our outreach programs, Disney is committed to granting wishes for children to brighten their lives, and the lives of their families, when they need it most," said Jody Dreyer, senior vice president, Disney Worldwide Outreach. "Through our work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we are proud to make possible the special wishes of children that bring joy to them in so many meaningful ways."
"Each child in attendance here today serves as an inspiration to all children confronting life-threatening medical conditions," said Make-A-Wish Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer David Williams. "Children's wishes not only bring them happiness and give them something to look forward to during treatment, but they also give the family quality time to spend together."
Relax and enjoy they did. Mickey invited Christian to his house for a special meet and greet before the park opened. The two new friends spent time together and took a walk together, hand-in-hand, through the streets of Mickey's Toontown. Christian is also spending a week at the Disneyland Resort as part of his wish.
"Christian's wish is the beginning of something very special," said Lisette Marlowe. "If you have faith and believe that your child can become better, then they will. This is Christian's first time at Disneyland and we are thrilled to see the joy on his face. When he is happy, we are too."
A Disney theme park visit remains the Foundation's most requested wish for children with life-threatening medical conditions. In fact, Disney fulfills more than 5,000 wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation each year through its corporate charitable outreach program. Disney wishes fulfilled have also included cruises, visits to the set of a film or television production, spending time with animators and meeting favorite characters such as Mickey Mouse, or Disney Channel personalities like Raven-Symoné.
"Disneyland has been a magical place for many people throughout the world for 50 years," said Disneyland President Matt Ouimet. "That magic is even more powerful to our Cast Members when we meet the children and their families who come to us as part of a special wish. We are honored to be involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and are humbled to bring joy to each child who visits us."
The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Disney began their relationship in 1980, when Disney helped the newly formed charity grant its first wish to a 7-year-old, Frank "Bopsy" Salazar. Bopsy actually received three wishes as the first recipient: he wanted to go to Disneyland, he wanted to be a fireman and he wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. Bopsy helped to establish the long-running relationship between the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Disney.
In addition to Disney's sponsorship of the 25th Anniversary Conference, American Airlines generously flew each ambassador and their family to California to mark the occasion.
About Disney and the Make-A-Wish Foundation
Disney brightens the lives of children in need around the world through global outreach programs, local community initiatives and the Disney VoluntEARS program. In 2004, Disney donated more than $165 million in cash and in-kind support to worthy charities around the world, Disney VoluntEARS contributed more than 460,000 hours of service and the company drew upon its unique magic to make wishes come true for children and families. For more information on Disney's outreach efforts, please visit www.disneyhand.com.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Born in 1980 when a group of caring individuals helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 73 chapters in the U.S. and its territories and 28 international affiliates on five continents. Granting more than 11,700 wishes a year and 144,000 wishes worldwide since inception, the Make-A-Wish Foundation celebrates "25 Years of Making Wishes Come True" in 2005. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org.