MOSS POINT – He's too young to ride roller coasters or read the cursive writing on his SpongeBob bon voyage cake, but Caiden Nichelson of Moss Point knows from the calendar he checks off each day that it's time to go to Disney World.
Although his family has made the trip before, when the Make-A-Wish Foundation and wish sponsor the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation decided to grant his wish, eight-year-old Caiden chose to return to Disney.
As they do with all wishes, volunteers hosted a wish send-off party, this one at the Moss Point Pizza Hut on Thursday night.
The wish isn't just for the East Central second-grader. It also gives his parents, Jeff and Gloria Nichelson, and his brother, Jake, 12, time together and "to get away from the hospitals, the doctors and the shots," his mom declares.
Caiden was born with a rare benign brain tumor that was successfully removed at Children's Hospital In New Orleans when Caiden was six. The surgery has left him with a growth-hormone deficiency. "He takes medicine all the time now," his mom says, and he wears a Medic Alert pendant around his neck.
When his classmates get sick for a day with a stomach bug, Caiden ends up in the hospital, as he did last week. Otherwise he's a normal kid who likes soccer, SpongeBob and Goofy, and is hoping his teacher, Delores Dismuke, will let him go to Disney without any homework.
Make-A-Wish volunteers Jerica Bounds and Keely Hyatt say Disney is the No. 1 wish among the kids they serve with life-threatening illnesses. Families stay at Give Kids The World resort right at Disney. "They have their own little cottage they stay in, with their name on the door," Hyatt said.
Caiden's parents say they are blessed their son is here and it's his mother's wish "just see him stay healthy and achieve a normal life."