By Lisa Hightower
Tyrone resident Melissa Adkinson and her 11-year-old son, Christopher, struggle with disease every day.
Ms. Adkinson was told her son had Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was 4 years old. Duchenne is a type of muscular dystrophy that affects only males.
“It’s the worst type,” Ms. Adkinson said.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, there are 43 different muscular diseases affecting an estimated one million people in the United States.
While Christopher is often weak and tired, his mother said he is a sweet spirit who handles his disability with a smile and dignity.
“I am very proud of him all the time,” she said.
Two weeks ago, Christopher and his mom got a break from their day-to-day routine.
Christopher was one of eight children chosen to take an all-inclusive weekend trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.
The trip, called Bert’s Big Adventure, was started by an Atlanta radio personality Bert Weiss with all The Hits Q100.
Weiss said his purpose is to help chronically ill children have a taste of normality.
So, with a plane supplied by Delta Air Lines, a medical staff and lots of donated goodies, they were on their way to the most magical place on Earth. All meals, tickets and accommodations for the weekend were paid for through Bert’s Big Adventure, a nonprofit organization started by Weiss and his wife, Stacy.
All the children have a common bond. Besides the once-in-a-lifetime trip, they now know they and their families are not alone. The trip is kept small so the kids and their families know they are truly special, a station spokesperson said.
The radio personalities said Ms. Adkinson acted as a mother to all the kids on the trip. Ms. Adkinson says, “I couldn’t help it. The kids were so sweet and to know more suffered as we do daily was just heart-wrenching.”
Everyone had fun.
Christopher said his favorite thing were the boat rides, “especially It’s A Small World,” he said.
They rode the ferry boat, jungle cruise and the aquarium at Epcot.
“We didn’t get to do a lot because time flies when you’re there,” Ms. Adkinson said.
For more information on the trip and how to help, visit www.bertsbigadventure.org