Give Kids the World began many years ago when a young girl with leukemia named Amy had one final wish: to visit the theme parks in Orlando FL. A request for a complimentary resort stay was made to hotelier, Henri Landwirth, who made the necessary arrangements to accommodate Amy’s wish. Time had passed and unfortunately, Amy passed away before she was able to realize her dream of making that trip. Inspired to never fail a child in need’s request again, Landwirth opened the doors to the Give Kids the World Village, a 70-acre wonderland that has accommodated more than 140,000 children with terminal conditions and their families, having visited from each of the 50 states and from over 75 countries.
The organization enlists the assistance of more than 3,500 volunteers in order to make these children’s dreams come true.
On Thursday August 6, the reality superstars aligned together at People Magazine’s VIP reception where sponsors from this weekend’s activities – ‘Experience Kissimmee’, Victory Casino Cruises (Port Canaveral), Gatorland, Celebration Town Tavern, American Airlines, Nardo’s Natural Organic Skincare, legal firm Celebration Law, and Celebration Exotic Auto Festival, and Florida Hospital’s ‘Adult & Pediatric Medicine’ and ‘Family Medicine of Celebration’ groups – convened upon the beautiful host resort for this weekend’s activities: Melia Orlando Suite Hotel at Celebration. A homecoming of sorts for many of the stars who had participated in previous years, this year’s events welcomed new faces to this year’s event as well, including: Natalie and Nadiya Anderson (Survivor – San Juan Del Sur, and Amazing Race). 80’s pop icon, Tiffany, was also a welcome addition to this year’s festivities. In addition to mingling with the event’s VIP sponsors,the celebrities were greeted by booth displays featuring items from People Magazine, Pocket Protein, Dicks Cottons, Ava’s Cupcakes, and Nardo’s Natural Organic Skincare before posing with Madame Tussaud’s wax figure Neil Patrick Harris toward the back of the room. The Melia staff did well to ensure that everyone sampled the wonderful food provided by Corporate Chef Keith R. Esbin of Paramount Fine Foods.
On Friday, the reality stars boarded buses sponsored by Victory Casino Cruises where they bonded and re-established alliances from year’s past at the alligator capital of the world: Kissimmee’s Gatorlando attraction. Here, stars and sponsors whizzed overhead on exciting zip lines which adorned the skies. On land, some of the brave attendees actually held alligators, tarantulas, and a massive albino python!
However, the excitement didn’t end here for the adrenaline junkies. In the evening, the reality stars’ true colors were on display as they dressed up in costume to attend the private ‘Pirates and Princesses Party’ at Give Kids the World Village. With lots of hugging and smiling, the center of attention was on the children of Give Kids the World, with the children being the ones asked to take photographs and give autographs to the TV stars. The celebrities received yet a further treat through the special appearance of Alyssa Pietruszka, a terminal cancer survivor who had previously been a guest of the Village whose own prognosis was that of only a few months. Now, 3 years later Alyssa is a survivor and now the poster child for Give Kids the World providing encouragement and motivation to children of the organization and their supportive families.
On Saturday August 8, Hearts of Reality delivered the reality guests to the Bohemian Hotel of Celebration, where for 7 HOURS the stars signed autographs and posed with visiting guests. This portion of the event requested a $35 donation, and was able to raise over $9,000 alone! At the event, the celebrities signed the event’s Commemorative Autograph Booklet and took ‘selfies’ with numerous guests. Upscale deli meats and cheeses were provided by Paramount Fine Foods as celebrities built their own delicious fine sandwiches!
Later that evening, another fundraiser was to be held. Tthe reality bunch headed to Celebration Town Tavern where they enjoyed the 80’s-themed dance party on the outdoor patio, relaxed to the tunes of the indoor house acoustic guitarist in the backroom, or simply enjoyed the comfort of adult beverages and food in this social hub of downtown Celebration. With many facing the reality of having to go back home the next day, the party was nothing short of an amazingly fun time.
And just like that, the weekend’s torch had been extinguished. Through the stars’ fundraising efforts in the weeks leading up to this weekend and the actual weekend festivities, Hearts of Reality raised almost $50k more than it did last year! With many stars hoping to see each other at future Hearts of Reality events, it will be very exciting to see many of them again in Celebration. In the meantime, enthusiasts should support these wonderful stars with several of them visible on TV again over the next few weeks. Definitely, come show your support either your donations or attendance, and help makes some special child’s dreams a true reality.