KIDS WISH NETWORK Unites Dolly Parton with Young Fan
When Austin Collis of Hedgesville, W.V., heard about the new Dollywood rollercoaster, the Firechaser Express, he set his sights on experiencing the thrill for himself. And thanks to Florida-based children's charity Kids Wish Network, Austin not only got to conquer the ride, but he also got to spend quality time with Dolly Parton herself.
Austin is an exceptional 11-year-old who has a fierce sense of adventure despite his life-threatening condition. Diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system, Austin suffers through four sets of treatments every day. Cystic fibrosis causes mucus in the body to become unusually thick and can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas. Every day, Austin undergoes two chest therapy treatments before school, one in the afternoon, and another one before bed to help break up the mucus. He also uses a feeding tube to supply his body with the necessary nutrients his disorder prevents him from absorbing.
Regardless, Austin remains upbeat and positive despite his blindness in one eye and rigorous treatment schedule. He definitely didn't let anything get him down during his all expense-paid wish trip to Dollywood provided by Kids Wish Network. Austin and his family traveled to Pigeon Forge, T.N., where they stayed at the rustic Oak Haven Resort & Spa, dined at country-themed restaurants, and spent two amazing days at Dollywood. Austin's favorite part, hands down, was meeting Dolly Parton herself.
"Austin was amazed," recalls his mom Brenna. "He was so excited to meet Dolly in person; he kept saying 'She's beautiful.'" She sat down and talked with him, signed autographs, it was fantastic."
Though Austin was star-struck by the country superstar, he didn't forget his mission to ride those roller coaster's.
"He loved the new Firechaser Express," Brenna noted. "He rode all the roller coaster's, some of them three or four times. Everything was just amazing; thank you, Kids Wish Network, so much."
On behalf of Austin and the Collis family, Kids Wish Network would like to thank Dolly Parton, the Dollywood Foundation, Oak Haven Resort & Spa, Wonderworks, Texas Roadhouse, Cracker Barrel, Enterprise Car Rental, and the Lumberjack Feud Dinner Theater for sponsoring Austin's wish.
Kids Wish Network is a Florida-based charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experience life-altering situations. Come experience the Kids Wish Network difference.