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5-year-old Ryder's sweet wish to meet Lightning McQueen

Ryder, 5, with Goofy and Mickey Mouse

“ “Ryder can’t crawl, walk or sit on his own but he has a light about him and that day, it was shining brightly.” ”


- Kiralee, Ryder's mother

"Ka-Chow!" That’s Lightning McQueen’s catchphrase when he is posing for the cameras or when he is celebrating a win. Ryder, 5, who wished to meet Lightning McQueen, knows that phrase well. He repeats it with great feeling when he talks about his wish.

“My favorite part of my wish was meeting Lightning McQueen,” said Ryder. “He said, ‘ka-chow’.”

But Ryder’s fun didn’t stop there.

“I ate waffles with Goofy and Princess Belle kissed me,” said Ryder, who said he definitely had a good time on his wish. His mom Kiralee said that Ryder didn’t want to come home after two days at Disneyland, being a minor celebrity in the park.“Everywhere we went throughout the park, everyone came up to talk with us, talk to Ryder, make sure we were doing ok,” said Kiralee. “It was an awesome experience.”

The wish experience was a light at the end of the tunnel for Ryder and his family, after a year of doctor’s appointments and tests finally diagnosed Ryder with Ullrich’s, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy that is diagnosed in one in one million people, with cerebral palsy.

“Ryder was born as a preemie with lots of complications and was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy,” said Kiralee. “The doctors said Ryder probably wouldn’t survive but three months after he was born, we were able to bring him home.

“We always knew there was something else going on but doctors couldn’t seem to pinpoint what was happening.”

Then, one day, Kiralee cut the hair of a woman who knew a specialist at a local hospital. Days later, Ryder had an appointment and a month later, Kiralee and her husband Greg had a true diagnosis, Ulrich’s.

“We always heard about Make-A-Wish® from other families and people we talked with, but we felt it was a bitter sweet thing, something we didn’t really need,” said Kiralee. “But after a year where Ryder was always going to appointments, therapy, and doctors office, we thought that Make-A-Wish would give him a good opportunity to be a kid and they surely delivered.

Kiralee said that Ryder’s time with Mickey and Goofy is something she will always cherish.

“Ryder laughed and joked with Mickey and wanted to hold his hand. Then he asked Mickey where Goofy was and though Goofy wasn’t scheduled to come to the Wish Lounge, the Disney employees called around and Goofy showed up to hang out,” said Kiralee. “Ryder can’t crawl, walk or sit on his own but he has a light about him and that day, it was shining brightly.”

Ka-chow!

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Make-A-Wish® Arizona
2901 North 78th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(602) 395-9474
Toll Free (800) 324-9474