Young cancer survivor enjoys Disney World
Editor’s Note: The story below was originally unclear about the operations of Make-a-Wish. Make-a-Wish grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses via referrals from medical professionals, parents or legal guardians and potential “wish kids.” For more information about Make-a-Wish eligibility, visit http://ms.wish.org/refer-a-child. We are happy to set the record straight.
NATCHEZ — Watching his healthy, 6-year-old son shoot hoops through a Fisher-Price basketball goal in his bedroom is a dream come true to Ernest “Tony” Fields.
But as far as Little Tony knows, being a regular child has always involved hospital trips for radiation, losing his hair and being extra careful not let his classmates bump into the chemotherapy port implanted in his chest.
So Little Tony’s dreams aim a little higher.
He wants to meet Mickey.
Sunday, the Make-a-Wish-Foundation proved to Little Tony that Walt Disney World really is a place where dreams come true by sending him and his family to Orlando.
Make-a-Wish contacted Little Tony for the program last year because he was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2.
The foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions and does whatever it takes to make their wish come true.
Tony Fields said Little Tony and his family will be granted access to every theme park at Disney World.
But meeting Mickey Mouse is first on Little Tony’s agenda. There are a few other things he’s excited about: “Rides and lots of games, and I think they have cotton candy,” Little Tony said.
Little Tony said he likes riding roller coasters, but only if they are not too big.
Little Tony and his family will stay at the Give Kids the World Village, which is a 70-acre resort with entertainment attractions for children.
In addition to the new experience of mingling with the same characters he sees on TV and in his toy bin, Little Tony will wear his first tuxedo as the best man in his father’s wedding Thursday.
The Florida nuptials might be just as exciting as meeting Goofy and the gang for Little Tony, because it means he will gain two stepsisters Samya, 8, and Aeniyah Butler, 13, along with a new stepmother, Eckwanise Butler.
Fields said more than 20 family members will be escorting Little Tony to Disney World and renting a house for a week in Orlando to attend the wedding.
Little Tony didn’t like what his dad told him when he tried his tux on for the first time.
“He told me I looked like (Steve) Urkel,” Little Tony said with his eyes narrowed toward his dad.
Fields said he and his late wife Kim tried to make everything as normal as possible for Little Tony. Fields said he tries not to worry too much about his son, and seeing how happy Little Tony is makes it easy.
He has played drums since he was 2 and has now graduated to a bigger drum set that sits next to his bunk beds.
And since his chemotherapy port was removed last month, replacing it with a nickel-sized scar, he has been able to run, jump and play without worry.
Fields said now that Little Tony’s cancer is in full remission, check- ups come just once every three months.
“When you go through stuff like this, you learn not to take things for granted,” Fields said.
“You have a healthy child, that’s something to be thankful about.”