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Give Kids The World Holiday Fundraisers make wishes possible for critically ill children like Wesley

This holiday season, Give Kids The World has an exciting lineup of festive and merry fundraising events that will help make wishes possible for critically ill children.


Give Kids The World Holiday Fundraisers make wishes possible for critically ill children like Wesley

Give Kids The World Village’s (GKTW) season-long series of holiday events will do more than provide the public with a rare glimpse inside a storybook Village bedecked with millions of lights.


Festivities including a Holiday Soiree, Holiday VIP Tours and Holiday Dessert Parties will raise funds to make it possible for the 89-acre nonprofit resort in Central Florida to continue fulfilling the wishes of critically ill children like Wesley Pecqueur.


Born prematurely at 25 weeks, Wesley spent the first 103 days of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where extensive blood work revealed that Wesley’s neutrophil counts were very low. On the day he was discharged, Wesley was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for further testing. After months of blood draws and bone marrow biopsies, Wesley was diagnosed with severe congenital neutropenia, a very rare disease in which the body stops producing infection-fighting white blood cells; his immune system was broken.


Give Kids The World Holiday Fundraisers make wishes possible for critically ill children like Wesley

“Wesley’s condition is extremely difficult to detect, with a 70% mortality rate in the first year of life without medical intervention. If not for the constant blood work in the NICU, doctors likely would have missed the irregular pattern in his blood counts. We could never have imagined that being born prematurely most likely saved his life,” says Wesley’s mom, Wendy Pecqueur.


Early detection enabled Wesley to begin injections with a medication typically administered to cancer patients following chemotherapy to build the immune system. After a year of treatment, however, the medication stopped working; a bone marrow transplant would be needed. Because his parents were not good enough matches, Wesley went into the bone marrow donor database. An exhaustive search led to a perfect match; but just weeks before the scheduled procedure, the donor backed out. By then, Wesley’s condition had worsened.


Their luck changed when a donor from Germany came forward. In July 2019, one month shy of his second birthday, Wesley received a life-saving bone marrow transplant. After nine months of isolation due to the transplant, the family’s restrictions ended in February 2020 – when the pandemic sent them back into isolation for 14 more months. In January 2023, Wesley was well enough to take the trip of a lifetime with his family to GKTW.


“These kids lose a big piece of their childhoods when they live in hospitals and doctors’ offices for portions of their lives; our stay at GKTW gave him a little of that back,” says Wendy. “From the accessible rides and unlimited ice cream to the care and compassion of staff and volunteers, the Village is truly a child’s paradise. We will cherish the memories forever.”


To make life-changing experiences like this possible, GKTW will host an elegant Holiday Soiree on Saturday, November 11, featuring dinner, live entertainment and a charity auction; VIP Tours of the Village; and balcony Dessert Parties with stunning views of the lights.


Visit www.gktw.org/holidays/ for tickets and information.


 Give Kids The World Village Holiday Fundraising Festivities

A Holiday Soiree, Holiday VIP Tours and Holiday Dessert Parties highlight a season-long series of fundraising experiences that will make wishes possible while giving the public a rare glimpse inside Give Kids The World Village – an 89-acre, whimsical nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, that provides critically ill children and their families from around the world with magical week-long wish vacations at no cost.


Members of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), the voice of the PEO industry, has funded the installation of more than 1.6 million lights to illuminate the Village throughout the holiday season in addition to other Village enhancement projects.


Give Kids The World’s 2023 Holiday Soire

Festivities kick off on Saturday, November 11, with an elegant evening of fundraising and friendmaking at Give Kids The World’s 2023 Holiday Soiree. A mini-Gala with a holiday twist, the event will feature a plated dinner, live entertainment, and live and silent auctions, followed by a festive party on the Village’s Avenue of Angels.


Amidst glittering lights and dazzling décor, guests can dance to a DJ, indulge in delectable desserts and explore the iconic Castle of Miracles: home to the gold stars of every wish child who has visited, with more than 180,000 stars adorning the ceiling.


Individual tickets and VIP packages are available for this limited-space opportunity.


Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.gktw.org/soiree23.


Give Kids The World's new Holiday VIP Tours

Taking place on select nights in November and December beginning on November 17, Give Kids The World's new Holiday VIP Tours enable guests to experience Give Kids The World Village all decked out for the holidays. Groups can enjoy escorted access to select venues on the Avenue of Angels; view a dazzling tree trail; explore holiday vignettes from Give Kids The World partners; and take festive photos with fun props and backdrops.


Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.gktw.org/holidays/.


Give Kids The World’s Holiday Dessert Parties

In addition, Give Kids The World’s Holiday Dessert Parties help guests take their seasonal celebrations to the next level.


Groups of up to 30 guests can enjoy a festive gathering in one of the balconies on Towne Hall, offering stunning panoramic views of the Avenue of Angels bedecked with millions of glittering lights. Perfect for office parties, friends and family events, marriage proposals and other special occasions, each party includes an assortment of delicious holiday treats and sparkling beverages, along with a private tour of The Avenue.


Dessert Parties can be booked for $60 per person by contacting events@gktw.org.


NAPEO’s generosity is helping to make all of these opportunities possible. As part of its NAPEO Gives Back program, NAPEO, its members and staff selected Give Kids The World as its charity of choice in conjunction with the organization’s annual conference. So far, more than $300,000 has been raised through a silent auction and online donations to fund holiday lighting and other Village projects aimed at enhancing the experience families enjoy during their wish trips.


“We launched NAPEO Gives Back in 2019 with the goal of harnessing the 'power of many' to contribute meaningfully to the communities where we host our conferences," said Barron Guss, co-chair of the NAPEO Gives Back committee. "This year, in partnership with Give Kids The World Village, we're taking our commitment to the next level by spreading joy and making a lasting impact on the lives of children facing critical illnesses. Together, we are creating magical moments and memories that will be cherished for a lifetime."


Pamela Landwirth, president and CEO of Give Kids The World Village, said, “We are grateful to NAPEO for helping to brighten the lives of our precious families. Children with critical illnesses face countless appointments, treatments and hospital stays, and they are often told “no” due to the limitations of their illness. With the support of our partners, donors and volunteers, we feel privileged to give wish children and their families a week of “yes” where they can forget their worries, experience joy, and spend precious time together.”


Proceeds from all holiday activities will help Give Kids The World Village create happiness, renew optimism, and ignite an enduring sense of hope in the hearts of wish families during life-changing week-long wish vacations.


Every family is treated to an all-inclusive, customized experience including transportation; accommodations; all meals and snacks; donated theme park tickets; nightly entertainment; daily gifts; and more. Located at 210 S. Bass Road in Kissimmee, FL, the Village is one of less than 1% of all U.S. charities to receive Charity Navigator’s highest rating 17 years in a row.


For more information or to make a donation, visit www.gktw.org.



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