The Hecke family, from Brookfield are leaving for Walt Disney World July 25 thanks to a charity called the Dream Factory.
The Dream Factory is an all volunteer, wish-granting organization designed to help children with chronic and terminal illnesses.
The Hecke family lives in Brookfield, just down the street from the Twin Parks. Mom, Amy Hecke, Dad, Terry Hecke, Amy’s brother Jaret Jackson and Amy and Terry’s three kids, including Kaitlyn live in the house. Kaitlyn is 3-years-old and was born with gastroschisis, a rare condition where children are born with a portion of the intestines outside the body.
According to Amy, Kaitlyn has been in and out of the hospital since she was born. Kaitlyn will likely have to live with gastroschisis for a long time.
Seeing the position the family was in and wanting to brighten Kaitlyn’s world, Jaret Jackson, Amy’s brother stepped in.
“It was hard to assess Kaitlyn’s condition when she was born,” Jackson said. “She’s a strong kid, but she may have many more surgeries to come.”
Enter the Dream Factory, an all volunteer, wish-granting organization to help children. The Dream Factory’s mission statement is, “we grant dreams to critically and chronically ill children from the ages of three through eighteen.”
According to Dream Factory representative for Northwest Missouri Rita Hook, the Dream Factory will do its best to help any child.
“Any child who has qualifying conditions, we will grant their dream,” Hook said.
On a whim, Jackson applied online to the Dream Factory. A short while later, and to Jackson’s excitement, the Hecke’s learned they would be taking a trip to Orlando, Fla.
For Jackson, he wanted to give something special to his niece.
“I would love to see her happy again,” Jackson said. “This is Kaitlyn’s first year out of the hospital.”
The Hecke family is scheduled to leave Brookfield for Disney World July 25 and return Aug. 1. All expenses are being taken care of by the Dream Factory.
Similar to the Grant A Wish Foundation, the Dream Factory’s primary goal is to help all kids to brighten their day at least for a short while.
Hook says granting a dream is the best way they can give back.
“We can’t give them their health, but we can give them a smile,” Hook said.
There are seven Dream Factory chapters in Missouri. The closest chapters, for North central and Northwest Missouri are in Columbia and St. Joseph respectively. According to the Dream Factory website, the organization has been helping kids since 1980.
According to Hook, the Dream Factory chapters operate independently and raise funds within their communities. Each chapter will help as many as seven children in a calendar year. This year the whole organization has already granted 200 wishes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, gastroschisis affects roughly 1,800 babies each year. The CDC states the causes for gastroschisis are unknown. The only treatment being immediate surgery after the baby is born.