As 1998 was coming to a close I had one last wish to do for the year and little did I know that this wish would be so wonderful, yet so heartbreaking.
Little three-year-old Ricky Morales was referred to the Debbie Chisholm Memorial Foundation for a wish and he wanted only one thing in this world, and that was to meet “Buzz Lightyear” from the animated movie “A Toy Story.” This wish, seemed, to be a relatively simple wish to do but there was a major complication, Ricky, who suffered from a cancerous killer known as Pnet, had less than a month of his precious little life to live!
I immediately contacted Disneyland Public Affairs Representative, Debbie Lowery, and informed her of the situation and Debbie took the wish request to heart, making Ricky her priority. Since Ricky was on morphine at his home and could not be transported to the Magic Kingdom, Debbie cleared it with Disneyland to have “Buzz” make a special appearance at Ricky’s home.
When the big day arrived I met with Disney personnel at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and we first toured the Children’s Cancer Ward with Ms. Karlynn Kundrat in the disguise of “Pluto.” Karlynn was amazing with the kids and they dearly loved seeing their favorite pooch “Pluto.” Afterwards, the entire Disney team consisting of Character Lead/Coordinator Kari Monreal, “Buzz and Pluto” characters Karlynn Kundrat, show support person Rotom Men and the lovely Disneyland ambassador Dorothy Stratton, all loaded into their van and followed me to the “Happiest Place on Earth for a Day” — Ricky’s house.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Ricky’s mom, Marjorie, and we were ushered inside to meet the Man of the Hour. When Ricky saw “Buzz,” he lit up like the Fourth of July, extended his little arms for a hug and gave “Buzz” a big kiss, much to the delight of the Galactic Hero. During our entire visit with Ricky he was transfixed by the appearance of his hero who had come to make his wish a reality.
Disney Ambassador Dorothy Stratton and character Karlynn Kundrat (Buzz) were clearly on their game as they kept up a constant chatter with Ricky for more than one half-hour and Karlynn truly was every bit the hero Ricky hoped Buzz would be. Two weeks after completing Ricky’s wish, he left this world to be with his Lord and Savior and to watch over the kids he left behind, who still battle every day with cancer.
My eternal thanks to Disneyland and their staff for making this wish come true and my thanks to Robert and Marjorie Morales for letting me spend the day with one of the most precious little boys I have ever known.
God bless you.
Sr. Deputy Corky Bell