Two terminally ill children from Poland will shake hands with Mickey Mouse next week thanks to a Halifax based non-profit organization.
Ten year-old Agata has muscular atrophy and weighs less than 20 lbs.
Eight year-old Lucja has cancer. Along with their mothers they will join Coalition for Kids president Kamila Rybicka at the Walt Disney World Resort Feb. 20.
Coalition for Kids International and Poland based Fundacja Dziecieca Fantazja — Children’s Fantasies Fulfilled, teamed-up to give the girls a six-day Florida vacation.
Rybicka, founder of both organizations, planned the trip over the last three months.
The first trip happened in 2004. Rybicka received a letter at her company asking for help sending two children to Manchester, England to see a football game. The children watched the game and ate dinner with the team’s goalkeeper.
“After dinner (one of the children) called everybody into her room and said she’d had the best time of her life,” said Rybicka’s husband and partner in the coalition Gary Oliver.
“With that, she shut her eyes and died.”
Oliver said the experience changed their lives. The pair founded the Polish charity shortly after, and has funded 950 children since. They started Coalition for Kids International after moving to Halifax in 2007.
Coalition for Kids International will sponsor eight trips this year, up from four last year. The children are chosen based on the severity of their illness. Those with the shortest time left move to the top of the list.
“Their families are extremely poor,” said Oliver. “Obviously this is the first time on an airplane for these kids, and that alone is a remarkable journey for them.”