Brandon's Florida dream trip Dream Come True experience thrills East Penn Twp. boy
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Brandon Hall and his sister, Emma, with Brandon's favorite souvenir from Sea World - a stuffed stingray.
After a whirlwind week of activities in Florida, Brandon Hall still grins ear-to-ear.
Brandon recently left kindergarten behind at East Penn Elementary School for a few days to meet up with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy.
His parents, Dee and Jeffrey Hall, were also thrilled by the weeklong stay in Florida.
"The volunteers at Dream Come True, Blue Ridge Chapter thought of everything," said Dee. "And once we arrived in Florida, the 2,700 volunteers at Give Kids The World couldn't do enough for us."
The family stayed at GKTW Resort because young Brandon has a serious medical problem. To see the young boy at play, one would never know that Brandon has been seriously ill since he was an infant.
At only a few months old, he was diagnosed with multiple neurological disorders. Then two years ago he had a grand mal seizure that left him unconscious for nearly an hour. After that episode, he was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that from time to time produces brief disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain. Normal brain function is made possible by millions of tiny electrical charges passing between nerve cells in the brain to all parts of the body.
When someone has epilepsy, this normal pattern may be interrupted by intermittent bursts of electrical energy that are more intense than usual. They may affect a person's consciousness, bodily movements or sensations for a short time.
Brandon had been seizure-free for a few years, but recently experienced breakthrough seizures. His mother was told that the seizures returned due to Brandon's growing up. The seizures should be under control again after his medication is adjusted.
Brandon had much support during the troubling periods in his life. His occupation, physical and speech therapists teamed up to help him thrive. It was during these early visits, they noticed that Brandon had autistic tendencies.
Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors. Because of this early intervention, Brandon appears to be high functioning despite the autism.
"We visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studies, Universal Studios and Sea World," said Dee.
While Brandon enjoyed every aspect of the trip, his visit to Sea World to see the stingrays was a highlight. His favorite souvenir is a stuffed toy black and white spotted stingray which he sleeps with and takes with him everywhere.
"We were overwhelmed with the kindness of everyone involved," said Dee. "I believe that Brandon and his sister, Emma, had a great time in Florida, but as an adult, I can appreciate the volunteers who made this trip so special for my family."