Plea to send Doncaster schoolboy, who cannot talk, struggles to walk, and has lack of vision in one eye, to Disney World

The parents of an six-year-old boy from Goldthorpe, near Rotherham, who was born with a number of complex medical conditions that have left him unable to talk, are appealing to their local community to support the charity that wants to treat their son and the family to a dream holiday to Disney World, in Florida.


William Ryder, who’s had to endure many hospital visits in his short life, also has epilepsy, has lost the vision in his right eye, and can only walk short distances in familiar surroundings.

William, a pupil at Heatherwood Special School, in Doncaster, loves everything to do with Disney, so to get some much needed respite from his condition, and to make some amazing memories, his parents Michelle and Paul, decided to apply for a place for their son on Caudwell Children’s annual Destination Dreams holiday to Disney World, in Florida.

Caudwell Children is a national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.

The charity created Destination Dreams in 2007, to give 25 children, with life limiting conditions, the opportunity to experience a ‘Dream’ holiday to Disney World.

Michelle, aged 42, says that the family were delighted when William, who also recently had a stroke, was offered a place on the trip. However, the race is now on to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of the holiday.

As Michelle explained: “We were so happy to learn that we were one of only 25 families to have been selected for the dream trip, we simply couldn’t believe it.

“The families are really well looked after as the charity provide a dedicated team of paediatric doctors and nurses on the trip who are available 24/7.

“This is really important for us as we’ve only ever been on a plane once before, when we flew to Portugal, but that was before William’s stroke.

“The fact that there will be a team of paediatric doctors and nurses on the flight gives us real confidence as we’d be scared to fly as far as Florida on our own with William.”

They charity also take along over 40 volunteers to assist families around the theme parks.

“Because of the associated costs of taking very poorly children overseas the charity has to pay, on average, £12,000 per family,” explained Michelle. “The insurance alone would be unaffordable for us now.

“But with the current economic climate there’s always the risk that they won’t be able to raise enough money by the time the holiday comes around in December 2018.

“Therefore, all the families on the holiday have decided to appeal to their local community to ensure that we get on that plane to Florida, in December.”

Paul, aged 40, says that his son loves Mickey Mouse and he can’t wait to see his reaction when he meets him at Magic Kingdom. As he explained: “William simply adores Mickey! Although he’s non-verbal he has a wonderful smile, which strangers stop and comment about, so we know when he’s happy and he’s never happier than when he’s watching his favourite mouse.”

Michelle, says that the holiday is important for all the family. She said: “Life has been difficult for the last five years and we’ve had to deal with things on our own with no real family support.

“We’ve had to spend so much time in hospital and it’s been quite draining. Nothing would make us happier than going to Disney World. To see William meeting Mickey Mouse, in person, would make magical memories that we could treasure forever.

“I just hope the public support our fundraising campaign.”

Trudi Beswick, Chief Executive from Caudwell Children, is urging the community to get behind the family’s appeal. She said: “For many families caring for children with terminal or life-threatening conditions the thought of leaving the protected environment of their own home town, and their medical support, fills them with dread.

“By providing 24 hour professional medical provision and a team of volunteers, for the duration of the trip, Destination Dreams gives families the chance to create happy memories, often for the first time!

“Unfortunately, the level of assistance that the families need doesn’t come cheap. That’s why it’s vital that William and the family get the fundraising support that they so desperately need and deserve.”

You can support William through his Just Giving page here:

You can also donate by texting: PEAL90 then the £amount to 70070