Sunday, December 21, 2008

First-ever Japan Wish flight takes off for Disneyland

Sunday 21st December, 06:27 AM JST

American Airlines and Make-A-Wish Japan, the local office of the Make-A-Wish Foundation International, on Saturday sent Omoi Sendai, a junior high school student from Toyama Prefecture, off to Los Angeles on the inaugural Japan Wish flight. Omoi, who is battling a complex medical condition called Fanconi anemia, has had a long-standing dream of going to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

First-ever Japan Wish flight takes off for Disneyland

Omoi Sendai, center, and his family stand before a cake prior to their departure from Narita airport on Saturday.

Masami Yagi, president of Make-A-Wish Japan, said at a send-off reception, “Granting this wish of Omoi’s to go to Disneyland with his family brings the total number of wishes we have been able to grant over the years to 1,290. We are so happy for Omoi and hope he has a wonderful time.”

Upon Omoi’s arrival at the Los Angeles International Airport, he and his family will be welcomed by volunteers from the Something mAAgic Foundation, a non-profit organization made up of current and former American Airlines employees that support the Make-A-Wish Foundation as it creates magical memories for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Omoi’s dream will come true as he enjoys spending time at Disneyland with his family and a volunteer escort from Make-A-Wish Japan. Omoi will return to Japan on Christmas Day.

An annual event since 1996, WishFlight sends families of children with life-threatening medical conditions to Orlando each fall to experience a week of fun at Give Kids The World Village and area theme parks. Since 1996, 270 children have participated in WishFlights and more than $1,000,000 in cash and in-kind donations has been raised by Something mAAgic to send children from Canada, Mexico, Europe, Latin America and the United States to Walt Disney World.

This flight is the first-ever Japan Wish Flight, a similar collaboration by the organizations listed below to make one of the dreams of a Japanese child facing difficult medical challenges come true.

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