Sallisaw resident Holli Reherman said every time one asks her son, Dimitri, what his favorite part of a trip to Florida was, he says something different.
“I liked ‘The Pirate Show,’” said Dimitri, who is 5 years old and recently went on a once-in-a-lifetime type trip to a series of amusements parks in Orlando, Fla., thanks to the Kids Wish Network.
“You get on a boat and there’s lots of cool things going on,” Dimitri added.
The Kids Wish Network charity started in 1997 with the mission of granting wishes to children suffering life-threatening medical conditions.
Dimitri Reherman is one of two children born to Holli and Adam Reherman to have cystic fibrosis. Three-year-old Owen also has the disease.
According to the National Institute of Health, cystic fibrosis is a disease passed down through families that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract and other parts of the body.
It is one of the most serious chronic lung diseases for children and young adults and is considered life-threatening.
Dimitri attends Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy, which gives him a safe environment to attend school and learn.
“It’s a lot easier,” Holli Reherman said. “This gives us flexibility. If he did a traditional school, we were worried about cold and flu season. If he catches something, it could be a long, drawn-out process.”
Reherman’s other two children, 9-year-old Asher and 10-month-old Sebastian don’t have cystic fibrosis and they aren’t carriers.
Holli Reherman’s friend, Tiffany Whalen, called the Kids Wish Network on behalf of the family to ask the Kids Wish Network if they would grant Dimitri his wish.
Holli and Adam Reherman were sent an application and provided a doctor’s note stating Dimitri had a life-threatening condition.
When asking Dimitri about his trip to all the amusements park in Orlando, he said, “Everyone’s real.”
The Rehermans traveled to Florida as a family from Sept. 13-17 and the family went to a different amusement park every day.
On Sept. 14, the family went to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. They also went to Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios during this fun weekend. They stayed at Lake Buena Vista Resort.
“Dimitri liked going to the water park, seeing ‘Curious George Goes To Town,’ and characters from ‘Toy Story,’” Holli said.
Dimitri moved his arm inches away from his open mouth and illustrated how close a dinosaur came to him while on a Jurassic Park-themed ride.
Dimitri, who began wearing eyeglasses last year full-time, began having seizures when he was just a few months old. After a battery of tests, it was determined he was diagnosed with severe acid reflux and he needed surgery on his esophagus.
For nearly a year, Dimitri ate through a feeding tube, and he was finally diagnosed as having cystic fibrosis.
Holli reported that Dimitri has not experienced a seizure during the past couple of years. He still suffers with digestive problems. But, Dimitri has gained three pounds in recent months, Holli said.
Holli wanted to express her gratitude to the Kids Wish Network for putting this family adventure together for them. The organization put together the entire schedule for the family.
“We were very shocked,” she said. “It was a nice surprise when we got a phone call from them. It was exciting. We are grateful for the wonderful experience. It was nice not to think about the medical side of things. Dimitri’s had a rough time.”
Dimitri enjoys activities other children can take for granted, like jumping on a trampoline, playing video games (Plants Vs. Zombies is his favorite) and reading books.
“Dimitri loves stuffed animals,” Holli said. “He calls them his soft friends.”
To help with his cystic fibrosis condition, Dimitri often wears a vest that shakes him to loosen the mucus inside his body.
He takes allergy medication, mucus thinners, appetite stimulants and pancreatic enzymes. He takes those enzymes by mouth with every meal to help him break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates.