December 13th, 8:56 PM EST
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — Baking Memories 4 Kids is a national nonprofit that gives families and children with disabilities the chance to take a break long by getting a week-long, free vacation.
On Tuesday, one Charlottesville family was surprised to find out that they were going on a trip to every amusement park in Orlando Florida.
“Flying to Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, LEGO Land, for an entire week with your family,” said Frank Squeo, the founder of Baking Memories 4 Kids.
He says that after he won his own battle with cancer, he made it his mission to give back to families and create memories that they can share.
“We’re here today to surprise a seven-year-old boy,” said Squeo. “My foundation started 10 years ago. We send very sick and terminally ill children on all-expense paid trips to every Florida amusement park, because I had cancer 15 years ago and was able to survive it. I launched the foundation and to date, we sent over 265 families who are these life changing trips.”
Each trip costs roughly $20,000 and it’s completely paid for by the nonprofit. For the Michael family, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
At just two years old, Luke Michael, the youngest son, fell into a pond and was medically drowned. He suffered from severe brain damage. Now he’s seven years old and about to spend his eighth birthday at the happiest place on Earth with his entire family of six by his side.
“We’re excited because while we’re there, Luke will turn eight years old, and our oldest will turn 15 while we’re there. So, they both get to celebrate birthdays in Disney World. What better place than the happiest place on earth,” said Luke’s mother, Ashley Michael.
This kind of vacation can change an entire family’s lives forever, with memories that will last a lifetime.
“What’s the most valuable thing that can’t be reproduced? It’s memories as far as I’m concerned. We’ve given these families so many memories. We can’t take away what’s happened or a child’s illness, but we can give them the gift of a lifetime. Which is the memories of this trip,” Squeo said.
For more information or to help send another family on a trip like this, click here.