A visit to Florida will be the vacation of a lifetime for seven-year-old Makayla “Mickey” Shinton who has taken more trips to the hospital than her mother can count. The North Lake Elementary student was born with cystic fibrosis and has had five surgeries in the last six years.
The trip, will grant Mickey’s longheld desire to meet the Disney characters. She is particularly interested in chatting with Mickey Mouse since they share a name. The vacation is sponsored by Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah, Sapp Bros. and Shell Oil ROTELLA, T brand.
Mickey’s Florida vacation was kicked-off with a truck convoy from Saltair to Sapp Brothers Truck Stop.
More than a dozen trucks, including a cement mixer and a parcel post delivery company escorted Mickey, her parents Matthew and Kim Shinton of Tooele and a collection of friends and family. The group was led by officers from Utah Highway Patrol and fire trucks in a procession down I-80.
Upon arrival at Sapp Brothers Truck stop on I-80 and 2100 south, Mickey and her guests were treated to a barbecue, live country music by Quick Draw and a show of gifts rivaling the downpour of rain Tuesday. Slightly overwhelmed by all the attention, Mickey in turn smiled for the cameras and buried her head in her father’s coat.
“She’s so excited it’s not even funny,” her mother said Monday.
Mickey is one of five recipients of wishes granted by Shell ROTELLA, T’s national partnership with the Make-Awish Foundation. The company has sponsored wishes for children who have family members working in the trucking industry. Mickey’s father is a truck driver for Staker Parsons.
In addition to the trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, Shell also gifted Mickey with a basket full of Care Bears. Tom Hagerman, Make-AWish volunteer wish granter, explained when children apply for wishes from the foundation they are asked to submit two wishes. Mickey’s first wish was the Florida vacation. Her second wish was a basket full of Care Bears.
In spite of the life-threatening disease and daily doses of medicines, breathing treatments and being fed through a shunt in her stomach to keep her healthy, Mickey is a small bundle of typical girl.
“Actually she is very active,” Kim Shinton says. “She is active in dance and softball, the only thing she can’t do is a slip and slide” because of the shunt in her stomach. Mickey eats regular meals, but because of her disease she is on a 2500 calorie diet. Still, the seven-year-old weighs a slight 42 pounds.
Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease affecting the lungs and pancreas. Because of a mucus plug in the pancreas, her body is unable to release the enzymes necessary to clear her lungs and digest food.
Mickey is highly susceptible to influenza and phenomena.
Casual contact with a disease that might just make a healthy person uncomfortable sends Mickey to the hospital with life-threatening complications.
Mickey was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis three months after her birth in December of 1997.
The trip to Florida with planned visits to Disney World, Universal Studies and visits to the beach will be a novelty to Mickey who has only left the state of Utah once, on a trip to Bear Lake, Idaho. The Bear Lake trip was cut short because Mickey became sick and ended up in the Montpelier, Idaho hospital. The family will be packing medicines and treatment supplies along with their swimsuits and suntan lotion, but Kim Shinton said they do not anticipate health problems marring the trip.
“It’s not going to be a big deal; she should be able to do anything,” she said.
Mickey’s happy-go-lucky personality has helped her through frequent medical treatment.
“She’s the easiest going little kid, she just goes with the flow,” Kim Shinton said. “Even when she was a baby she never really fought us about her treatments.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions in an attempt to enrich their lives with hope and joy. With the help of donors and volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah grants over 115 wishes a year. Located in Murray, the foundation offers a wish experience that includes a magical wish-making ceremony in the Wishing Tower, special wish tokens to throw in the wish fountain, and plenty of room for wish granting celebrations.
For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation visit www.makeawishutah.org.