Rachel’s Kids’ biggest ‘Small Moments of Joy’ donation yet

Rachel’s Kids’ biggest ‘Small Moments of Joy’ donation yet
Rachel's Kids: From left

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – His battle with Polycystic kidney disease is no fairy tale story.

So before six-year-old George Jacobs and his family tour Disneyland thanks to a Cornwall-based charity, they’re making a pit stop to meet his favourite silver screen star: Emmet from the Lego Movie.

For over two years, the youngster needed daily care at CHEO in Ottawa while on dialysis as he waited for a transplant. PKD, the inherited condition that affects kidney function, has no known cure.

In 2013, George’s long wait was over: a donor surfaced.

“He’s been a lot better since then,” said Mitchell.

During the long hospital visits he found strength in dreaming that one day he would meet the fictional character and visit the popular California attraction.

Enter Rachel’s Kids’ ‘Small Moments of Joy’ program.

The charity founded by Dr. Rachel Navaneelan has coordinated with an American foundation to help send the Akwesasne family of four to Disneyland, and several other large amusement parks along the way, including Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld, Legoland Hotel, and Busch Gardens.

Tickets, travel expenses, food, and accommodations are all taken care of.

George (III) will be making the two-day trek with George (Junior) Jacobs (dad), Sabrina Mitchell (mom), and Kayden Jacobs, 11, (big sis’). They leave on Thursday (July 2) and plan to return on July 13.

“The kids are getting really excited,” said Mitchell. “I just want to say thanks for everything Rachel’s Kids has done.”

As a patient of Dr. Navaneelan’s, she would discuss George’s condition. When his immune system strengthened, allowing him to travel, the Rachel’s Kids board of directors decided to “make his wish come true.”

George’s father noted that this is the family’s most extravagant adventure to date.

Watching her brother fight back from having 20 per cent kidney function to his current state of a rambunctious boy has been “very emotional.”

Kayden is looking forward to the good memories they’ll make on this trip.

“The more we do, the more we grow. This also means more people are approaching the charity with requests, which is what we want,” said Nicole Landriault, Rachel’s Kids board member of four years.

Kim Lauzon, executive director of Rachel’s Kids, says the Small Moments of Joy program is very similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The goal is to give small children who have battled a sickness their moment of joy – whatever that might be.

The wishes varied from an Xbox 360 with games to a pool.

“This is our biggest Small Moments of Joy yet,” said Lauzon.

Navaneelan added: “We’d like people to be aware of our version of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so we can reach out to more kids in the community and see what we can do for them.”

For more information, visit rachelskids.com.

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