Make A Wish: 'For a week we didn't have to worry'

Make A Wish: 'For a week we didn't have to worry' »Play Video
Izzy Wilmarth, 9, suffers from a disorder that kills most people by the time they reach their teens. His family has had to make adjustments, even building a new home. But they couldn't afford the vacation of a lifetime -- without the Make A Wish Foundation.

DORENA, Ore. -- The six kids in the Bennett household, ages 3 to 10, play hard.

Izzy Wilmarth, 9, struggles just a bit more than the others.

He suffers from a rare genetic disease -- ataxia telangiectasia syndrome, or AT.

"There's good days and bad days," said Joanne Bennett, Izzy's great aunt, "when he just don't have the energy and the strength to get up, and we just deal with it day by day."

The progressive disorder affects Izzy's nervous and immune system, making it hard for him to walk, speak and maintain balance.

"We have to shut down a lot of stuff we used to do because Izzy can't do it," Bennet said.

For example, Izzy can't safely get around the Bennett's old two-story home. They tried to sell but couldn't, so they're tearing the house down and building a new house -- themselves -- to make Izzy's life easier.

Most kids with AT only live into their teens. That is where the Make A Wish Foundation came in.

Izzy wanted desperately to go to Disneyland, but Bennett said a trip like that isn't possible for the family of 8.

Make A Wish took the entire family on the trip of a lifetime.

Izzy still pours over the photos from their Christmas-time trip.

Bennett said Make A Wish took care of everything, treating them like royalty from the flight to skipping every line at Disneyland.

"For a week we didn't have to worry about doctors appointments and stuff, we just worried about having fun," she said.

The vacation is a memory they cherish, a feeling of fun they try to recapture in everyday moments like riding a bike and living for now -- because no one knows what the future will bring for Izzy.