As we reflect on National Veterans and Military Families Month in November here at Walt Disney World Resort, we are filled with immense gratitude for the cast members and employees who have served and are an essential part of our Disney family.
As a special thank you to those who defended our nation, Give Kids The World Village welcomed more than 2,000 veterans and their families, including many members of Disney SALUTE, for a special preview of Night of a Million Lights for honor and greet them. which have served. Disney HEALTH is a group of business employee resources for those who have served or who feel a strong connection to the armed services.
“The spirit of service to both our nation and our community was fully demonstrated as our cast members who served in uniform enjoyed the beautiful holiday displays with their families along with those who give both in the communities, “said Cappy Surette, a retiree from the United States. Navy Captain and Co-Chair of Disney HEALTH. “We are grateful to our friends at Give Kids The World Village for hosting this special evening in honor of the veterans and families who support them.”
Among those in attendance were a member of the Disney Institute and Nat Geo Live cast and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Laura Nugent, who found the event a very special time for her family. that her four-year-old daughter, Felicity, was diagnosed with an acute lymphoblastic. leukemia a year ago this December. Although she managed to remit in May, Felicity has spent a total of six months since her diagnosis receiving hospital care at Orlando Health’s Arnold Palmer for Children’s Hospital due to the high risk factors associated with her illness.
“Felicity had just finished chemotherapy treatment with 31-day inpatients four days before this Disney SALUTE event at Give Kids The World Village,” Laura said. “It was really nice to go out together as a family and let Felicity and her sister, Gabby, be kids and enjoy their night.”
Give Kids The World Village is a full-fledged partner in our grant-making efforts and a recent $ 500,000 Disney grant recipient. I wish families could laugh, play and create invaluable memories together away from hospital visits and medical procedures at Give Kids The World Village, helping children build the physical and emotional strength needed to fight a critical illness, and the Nugent family was able to do so. just that during this very special night at the Village.
“While Felicity has not yet asked for her wish, I understand why families with children who have gone through so ask for their wish here,” Laura said. “It’s such an amazing and whimsical place: it was like going to Candy Land.”
During the last year of frequent hospital visits and new challenges, one thing remained constant: the love and support Laura felt for her Disney family HEALTH, as “they had six.” every day.
“During this trip, it has meant a lot to me that my Disney Institute and Nat Geo Live team and Disney SALUTE colleagues have given me a lot of support,” Laura said. “When we talk about ‘caring for the cast at Disney,’ that’s real and has meant a lot. My teammates have walked by my side on this trip and cared a lot about me.”
Thank you to ALL of our HEALTH members and military families who have served our country for your courage, dedication and continued support from others and those around you.