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Over the years we have had the privilege of helping so many different types of families. Those with:
That last type of family is one that is very dear to us, and is actually the reason Hope's Travel Desk was created. Because you see, we are that type of family. Our youngest child was diagnosed with Epilepsy before she was even 1 year old. And for MANY years we struggled with her condition. But year after year her doctors would tell us how important it was for our family to "get back out there". To try and live our lives like we did before that first seizure. But as we all know, sometimes things are easier said then done.
We definitely went through our fair share of ups and downs. And thankfully her doctors kept trying new ideas. And after many trials of different medications they were actually able to find something that worked for her. Now if you know anything at all about Epliepsy you know that it is impossible to know if the control is going to be temporary or permanent. So when we finally reached it we knew we needed to do something with the opportunity. So we decided it was time to take a mental and physical "break" from things, and we hit the road!
The next time we ventured out we went to one of my favorite places in the entire world - we went to Walt Disney World!! Now I won't tell you that choosing to take that trip was an easy decison for us. Because it meant that we would need to travel by airplane (something we hadn't done before with our daughter). And that alone was definitely going to put us out of our comfort zone. But what I can tell you that the decision to go was TOTALLY necessary and I am so glad that we did! This trip did havd it's fair share of challenges. Like learning how to go through airport security with our daughter's emergency medication. And when we arrived in Orlando our daughter experienced a seizure - something that hadn't happened for almost a year. So it didn't exactly start like a "perfect vacation", but we tried to stay focused on the positive. After we drove through the gates of our Walt DisneyWorld resort we found renewed strength in our decision to be there. And over the next few days as we watched our daughter enjoy the things we had only dreamt she could, we knew we had made the right choice. We of course went a little slower then most of the other families we saw in the parks, and we weren't able to stay for as many hours as they did - but it didn't matter. WE WERE THERE!
With everything we learned on our Walt Disney World vacation we decided to push on and go even further with our next trip, and we decided to take a cruise! This time we went with a larger group of friends and their families, and decided to take a relatively short one (only 5 days), but it was SO amazing!
When we returned from that trip I found that I felt really energized. And I found myself talking to everyone I knew about the amazing memories we had made on these trips. And how thankful I was that we had finally decided to take them. Anyone who knew about our history often asked me how we found the courage to do that. And my answer was always the same - "I did A LOT of research, and then we decided it was just time".
After having this same conversation over and over with SO many people I thought to myself , "What if there was a way I could offer to do all of that research for other families out there, and show them that the vacations they though they could only dream about really COULD happen.
I knew I needed to do this. So I went through the required specialized training and became both a Certified Accessible Travel Advocate and a Certified Autism Travel Professional.
And that's how Hope's Travel Desk was born!
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