A long time ago in a magical Village far, far away, the Willison family experienced all the joys of Mary’s 2006 wish trip. Their arrival coincided with the 20th Anniversary of GKTW, and the family was excited to be a part of the celebration. Mary and her brother Aidan, who also battles Cystic Fibrosis, enjoyed rides on the Enchanted Carousel, horseback rides at Keaton Korral and family meals in the Gingerbread House Restaurant.
Years after Mary’s wish trip, the Willison family moved from Maryland to Central Florida for their children’s’ medical care. Once settled, the family returned to GKTW to volunteer and make wishes come true for families like themselves.
Earlier this month, the Willison family decided to celebrate a wedding anniversary and birthday in a special and unique way. Combining their love of GKTW and Star Wars®, the family partnered with the Just In Queso Foundation at their local Tijuana Flats for a GKTW fundraising event they called Give Kids The Dark Side. Tickets were sold for the event that included a t-shirt, dinner, dancing, Star Wars character encounters and opportunities to win fabulous prizes such as Lightsaber umbrellas.
The Star Wars character experience was provided by the Florida 501st Legion. While this organization was designed to provide a collective identity for Star Wars costuming fans, the 501st Legion now proudly puts its resources to good use through fundraising, charity work and volunteerism. Rusty Willison, Mary’s father, became a member of this group a little over a year ago. The 501st has even visited GKTW Village in the past!
Star wars fans gathered for a night of galactic fun, ready to contribute to a mission that is out of this world. The family set a fundraising goal of $3,226; this special goal represented Mary’s Give Kids The World wish trip date of March 2, 2006.
The Willison’s exceeded their goal with a total donation of $4,000 and each dollar raised for GKTW was matched by the Just In Queso Foundation, resulting in an $8,000 gift!
Give Kids The World thanks the Willison Family for their continued support. The Willison’s force is strong!