Ill Youngsters Granted Wish to See Liberty With PM-Liberty Preparations Bjt
NEW YORK (AP) _ A teen-ager with a brain tumor and an 8-year-old cancer victim will venture from their small hometowns to glimpse the Statue of Liberty, thanks to a group that helps make dreams come true.
Lorri Wilder, 17, of Rochester, N.H., who has an inoperable brain tumor and is losing her sight, and Jeffrey Wyrick, 8, of Gibsonville, N.C., who suffers from bone cancer, will attend Liberty Weekend festivities courtesy of ″When Dreams Come True of Western Connecticut.″
″Disneyland and all that’s OK. But it’s the statue that caught my attention - the land of the free that brought everyone together,″ Miss Wilder said Tuesday night. ″I can’t wait to go. Rochester is pretty small.″
″She wants to see the statue more than anything,″ added her mother, Dorothy Pridham, who made the request for her daughter in January after an aunt told her about the organization, which is based in Danbury.
Miss Wilder, whose ailment is called Cushing syndrome, will be arriving at Newark Airport on Thursday with her mother and stepfather, John Pridham.
Jeffrey, a victim of Ewings sarcoma, will travel Thursday with his mother, Janice; father, J.B.; and brother, Blaine, 14. For mother and sons, it will be the first time on a plane.
Last April, when Jeffrey underwent surgery five times at Duke University Medical Center, Mrs. Wyrick wrote a letter to the state Department of Commerce in Albany, saying her son had ″talked about wanting to see the Statue of Liberty.″ The letter was forwarded to the organization, which contacted the Wyricks.
″We’re just overwhelmed, really,″ said Mrs. Wyrick. ″We’ve never been to a big city before. He’s going to be very amazed at the things he sees. I know his mother’s going to be.″
Mrs. Wyrick said planning the trip has helped her son ″get a little of his spunk back.″
″Jeffrey’s prognosis is not very good. He knows that he’s very ill but he doesn’t talk about it. We ask people not to use the words terminally ill - we say chronically ill. Only the good Lord knows,″ she said. ″We’ve been hanging in there and loving him and doing everything we can to make him happy.″
In addition to the statue, she said her son, who has an interest in history, would like to visit the Empire State Building and World Trade Center, but was told by organizers that may not be possible because of the huge crowds expected during the weekend.
″Fancy buildings - I’d like to see those,″ interjected Jeffrey, who was feeling too shy to say anything else about his upcoming trip.
″Maybe we can come back some day if he gets better,″ said Mrs. Wyrick.