Tuesday, September 20, 2011

68. Giving Back - The Dream Team Project

I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World dozens of times in my life. My parents always made spending time together as a family the highest of priorities. There really is no better way to enjoy quality time together than on a Disney vacation. Now that I have a family of my own, it has been my greatest joy to spend time with my wife and little boy at the vacation kingdom, making memories of our own. Unfortunately, there are many kids who dream of going to Walt Disney World who won't get that opportunity. Today, I would like to join forces with an organization that helps seriously ill children fullfill their Disney dreams.

Dave and Lou
Anyone who spends any time in the Disney online fan community certainly knows the name Lou Mongello. I have mentioned him in many of the articles I have written since the beginning of this blog. Among other things, Lou is the host of the WDW Radio Show podcast, author of The Walt Disney World Trivia Books, and publisher of Celebrations Magazine. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Lou's work, and he helped inspire me to start Digital Disney World. In addition to his tireless dedication to keeping us connected to the place we all love, he also created a wonderful charity called the Dream Team Project.

The Dream Team Project was born several years ago, out of Lou's personal experience of taking his dad for cancer treatments at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. While at the hospital, Lou was saddened to see so many children dealing with such a difficult disease. Although donations to cancer research are necessary and relevant, Lou wanted to do something to help someone today. His feeling is that by granting their wish to go to Walt Disney World, we can help make a child's life a bit brighter, if even for just a few days. The hope is that these children can forget about the pain and fear of their medical treatments while spending some quality time with their families in one of the happiest places on earth. Lou teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and is making these dreams come true for many children. The Dream Team Project has raised over $100,000 to date and continues to help grant these amazingly worthwhile wishes.

I feel so fortunate to have a happy and healthy little boy who loves going to Walt Disney World. The incredible work of Lou Mongello and the Dream Team Project has moved me to help make a difference in the lives of children who are less fortunate. Starting right now, I will be accepting donations through my website that will go directly to this fantastic charity. I am happy to be sticking with the theme of "staying connected to Disney World using modern technology." In this case, we will be using the technology for a worthy cause. Every dollar donated will help a child and their family create Disney memories that will last forever. You will see that I have removed all ads from my blog to make room for the Dream Team Project "Donate" section in the upper right corner of the site. All donations are made through PayPal which accepts all major credit cards. I know that times are tough, but if you enjoy Digital Disney World and believe that helping seriously ill children experience the magic is a worthwhile cause, I ask that you donate whatever you can. Every little bit will help!

This is my first venture into online fundraising, so I don't really know what to expect. However, I have committed to running the 5K race during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January. I would like to raise "$500 for the 5K" and hope to present Lou with a check for that amount after the race. I have never run a 5K or any other race for that matter. I historically haven't made a habit of running unless I was being chased. However, I feel that this is for a great cause and I have started training diligently for the event. I actually discovered that I enjoy running. Who knew? I'm hoping to do the half-marathon in 2013, but I'm going to take it one step at a time......literally!

I want to thank you in advance for any amount that you may be able to donate. I am going to start the ball rolling by donating $40 in honor of Walt Disney World's upcoming 40th anniversary. We have over three months before Marathon Weekend, so if the site could average just $4 per day, we will hit our goal of $500. Thanks again for your help, and I hope you continue to enjoy Digital Disney World!

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward. See ya real soon!