Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dreams Come True's Party a Hit for Kids

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dreams Come True's Party a Hit for Kids

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

Four-year-old Matthew McLure was grinning as he and Engineer Jim Wilson aimed the fire hose outside CiCi's Pizza at 12777 Atlantic Blvd.

"You want to get the cars," said Wilson as water sprayed. "We'll get the next one."

The San Jose-area boy had already received presents from Santa Claus, while Jaxson deVille, two Jacksonville Jaguars players and a pair of Roar cheerleaders were nearby, ready to sign autographs. And Dreams Come True's annual "Children of Christmas" party wasn't over yet - there was still a shopping spree at a local Stein Mart for the boy who has leukemia.

"I'm going to remember that water," he said, then pulled his mother toward Trauma One.

His mother, Sarah, was overjoyed at the Southside agency's efforts.

"It is incredible. It is just amazing that they are so generous and giving, and make the kids so happy," she said.

Dreams Come True is the only local nonprofit that fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases. Starting in 1984, 2,160 Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia children with major health problems have lived dreams as varied as trips to Disney World and meeting NASCAR racer Tony Stewart.

For the past 15 years, the agency also selected clients who are having a tougher emotional or financial time and gave them a Christmas party in addition to their dream. Everything is donated by local companies, with a free shopping spree from Stein Mart.

Orange Park 11-year-old Savannah Goodman is dealing with Common Variable Immune Deficiency problems. The agency already fulfilled the young dancer's dream - a party at Mikhail Baryshnikov's house and a trip to Hawaii. Now she got a jacket, bath kit, journal, Hannah Montana book and Zoey 101 DVD set, with shopping spree to come.

"It's so much fun. I am so happy right now," she said. "I expected to come and eat pizza. …

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