By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Disneyland was just about everything that Dustin Holmes of Imperial wished for. He and several others visited the magical kingdom in California last week courtesy of wish i may of North Platte.
Dustin has Neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic disorder that disturbs cell growth in the nervous system.
Wish i may fulfills the wishes of children between the ages of 6 and 15 developmentally who have physical or mental disabilities.
Dustin, who is 17 but mentally younger, asked for a trip to Disneyland when contacted by the organization. The executive director, Rachelle Richter, a native of Imperial, knew of Dustin because she is a friend of his stepmother, Missy Holmes.
Dustin was very excited to see some of his favorite Disney characters during the trip, June 3-6. He had his picture taken with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Woody and Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story,” and the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet.
He also gathered their autographs in a special autograph book that was a present.
“He’d just talk and talk to them,” his grandmother said. “He loved that.”
Dustin, stepmother Missy, brothers Hoyte and Cody, Richter and her son Jake, and Dustin’s grandmother Kayla Holmes rode the roller coaster (never again), rode a ferris wheel and Dustin “waved and hollered” at a parade of characters.
They bypassed Splash Mountain, one of Dustin’s objectives, because the wait was two hours long.
But, Dustin rode his favorite ride several times. It was the Radiator Springs Racers in the “Cars” section of Disneyland.
The group piled into fiberglass cars that are the actual size of race cars, and raced the “Cars” vehicles.
Those included Lightning McQueen, the rookie race car and Tow Mater, the tow truck.
The “Cars” section was Dustin’s main objective on the trip. “He could have lived in Carland,” Kayla laughed.
Dustin informed her on the plane ride home that he was moving to California so that he could keep visiting Disneyland.
Dustin will be a senior at Chase County Schools this fall. He’s a familiar face in the hallway, which he now travels by wheelchair.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 is characterized by the growth of tumors along nerves in the skin, brain and other parts of the body.
The condition also carries an increased risk of brain tumors and cancer of the blood-forming tissue (leukemia), blindness and deafness.
Kayla said Dustin has nodules at the base of his head, “numerous” nodules in his brain, at the base and along his spine and in his jugular vein.
He has holes in his bones and a hip that is bone-on-bone, causing walking to be painful.
Kayla said Dustin’s hip may not be replaced. “We don’t know what the next step is,” she said, adding that his family is waiting to hear about some insurance issues.
Dustin has been seeing Dr. Paul W. Esposito, a pediatric-orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital in Omaha.
“My guess is they’re probably not going to do anything” about present medical conditions, Kayla said.
As of Monday, Dustin was resting up from his trip. His eyes were tired from all of the sights at Disneyland and the movie he watched on the way back to Imperial Friday.
He has his Mickey ears, his autograph book, notes and passes as his souvenirs, memories of a wonderful wish come true.