Trevor Beaty’s favorite Disney character is Tigger, because “he’s my best friend and he bounces on his tail.” His favorite song is Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and his favorite movie is “Cars.”
The 5-year-old from Kennesaw is just like any other kid, except that he has acute lymphocytic leukemia. Most commonly diagnosed in children, the disease is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
While he can’t cure Trevor’s disease, WWWQ-FM’s Bert Weiss hopes to make Trevor’s childhood more than a battle with blood cells and cancer. “The Bert Show” host’s foundation, Bert’s Big Adventure, kicks off its fifth year this weekend with a trip to Walt Disney World. The group is providing an all-expenses paid vacation for 14 metro-area children, ages 5 to 12, who are battling a chronic or terminal illness.
“These kids are fighting a battle with time,” Weiss said. “This trip is all about these families getting away from the doctors and the hospitals and making memories. It’s about letting them just be a family.”
The morning-show host got the idea for the program while he worked with the Dallas-based group Kidd’s Kids. In 1996, the group took 100 sick children to Walt Disney World, and that trip forever changed him.
“I decided from that trip that if I ever had a show of my own, I would do the same type of program for the kids in that area,” Weiss said.
For these children, the trip won’t be a run-of-the-mill Mickey Mouse adventure, Weiss said. Instead, the kids will receive celebrity-like treatment, starting with the red carpet bon voyage reception the group got when they departed for their four-day adventure, via Delta Airlines, on Thursday.
“The kids have a plane all to themselves and we pull out all the stops. This is an over-the-top trip,” Weiss said.
The Bert’s Big Adventure medical committee chose the 14 children from a list of 120 applicants. They based their decision on medical conditions and financial needs. Children attending this year’s trip range in age and background, from a 12-year old girl with an ovarian germ cell tumor to two sisters, one with brainstem glioma, the other suffering from cystic fibrosis.
Bert’s Big Adventure is completely funded by “Bert Show” listeners and others in the community, Weiss said. For more information, visit www.bertsbigadventure.com.
(This article originally appeared in the Gwinnett Daily Post on 2/18/2007)