Operation Dreamlift takes 100 children to Disney World for the day

Katherine Scott Image
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Operation Dreamlift takes 100 kids to Disney for the day
Operation Dreamlift takes 100 kids to Disney for the day: Katherine Scott reports on Action News at Noon, May 7, 2019

MERCER CO., N.J. (WPVI) -- The Sunshine Foundation's 98th Dreamlift launches Tuesday from Mercer County Airport.

The wish-granting organization is flying 100 children down to Walt Disney World for the day.

The children have chronic special needs, serious illnesses or have been abused.

Joey Weble, 7, knows who he is excited to see, exclaiming, "Mickey!"

Operation Dreamlift heads to Disney for a day: Katherine Scott reports on Action News at 5 a.m., May 7, 2019

Cathy DiCostanzo from the Mercer County Chapter of the Sunshine foundation said, "A lot of doctors, a lot of not feeling well during the year... so to get out and have some fun in the sun and mingle with Mickey and Minnie- that's what it's all about."

Vishal Jain said his son, Arjun, has been homebound as he battles cancer.

"He has been diagnosed with leukemia. So that's why for the time being he's been handling this disease," he said.

Jain added, "It's a nice way to show they support kids like me."

Chase Mury, 10, told us how excited he was, "Like over the moon!"

His father, John Mury, said this trip is well-deserved.

"He's earned this. He's an honor roll student, mainstream classroom now. He's come so far," he said.

Operation Dreamlift takes kids to Disney for the day: Katherine Scott reports on Action News at 6 a.m., May 7, 2019

While they awaited take-off, the children interacted with Disney and Star Wars characters and chatted with NJ State Troopers. The troopers helped the children onto the plane.

Jeff Flynn told Action News that NJ State Police loves partnering with the Sunshine Foundation year after year to help these children.

"They get excited when they see us. They get excited when they see the Disney characters. I don't know who is more excited- us or them- but it's just a great day for everybody," Flynn said.

The children and their chaperones flew on a chartered jet. They landed in Orlando, where Disney buses took them to the Magic Kingdom.

Dawn Santowasso explained how important this trip is for children like her son.

"All these kids here they have special needs- and this makes their day," said Santowasso.

After a day packed with fun, they fly home late Tuesday night.

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