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Young swashbuckler has wish fulfilled as he meets infamous Captain Hook

A local child’s wish was recently granted by Make-A-Wish New Jersey, whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Gavin’s wish to go to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and meet Captain Hook was granted this summer, thanks to the 2019 Jersey Mike’s Subs “Month of Giving” campaign
which raised more than $458,000 for Make-A-Wish New Jersey in March, according to a press release from the organization.

Gavin, who is a resident of Freehold Township, was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness at a very young age. Now 3 years old, he has already been through 18 months of diagnoses and medical treatments.

Gavin and his family experienced one challenge after another, from learning of Gavin’s genetic condition to unexpected and immediate chemotherapy when it was feared Gavin would lose his vision in a matter of weeks, to allergic reactions and side effects from treatments, to sleepless nights for Gavin and his parents, according to Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

Alongside his loving parents, Tammy and Jeffrey, and his dedicated older brother, Brandon, Gavin took his battle one day at a time.

During an eye exam, Gavin had to wear an eye patch throughout the testing. In order to get through the examination, Gavin pretended to be a pirate with the patch over one eye and so began a newfound love of pirates, according to Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

Gavin was instantly interested in everything about pirates and quickly turned into an avid fan of the movie “Peter Pan.” It became a dream of Gavin’s to meet the infamous pirates of Neverland – and so when Gavin was told he would be granted a wish, he chose to travel to Walt Disney World and pay a visit to Captain Hook.

The highlight of Gavin’s trip to Florida was when he met Captain Hook. Gavin even had the
chance to sword fight with the swashbuckling villain and of course, Gavin was the winner.

Gavin, his parents and his brother also enjoyed the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage – a pirate-themed boat tour with Captain Hook, Smee and others on the Seven Seas Lagoon. The voyage included a beautiful view of the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom and concluded with a special surprise visit from Peter Pan.

Gavin’s family also created cherished memories while staying at a special resort, Give Kids The World, an 84-acre nonprofit resort in central Florida that provides week-long vacations to children with critical illnesses and their families.

The village provides fully furnished villas, meals, pools, carousel rides, character visits, ice cream all day, and other celebrations and surprises every day.

“The kids enjoyed Give Kids The World as much as Walt Disney World,” Tammy said. “It
was a safe, magical place. The ‘outside world’ just wasn’t there.”

Gavin’s wish to meet Captain Hook was granted as a result of the funds that were raised by local Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants as part of this year’s “Month of Giving” campaign, according to Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

In March, 67 Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants throughout New Jersey joined forces with Make-A-Wish New Jersey, raising funds needed to aid the organization in its mission.

The month-long customer donation campaign, which culminated with the “Day of Giving,” a day when Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants donated 100% of the day’s sales, raised enough money to grant nearly 50 wishes to youngsters like Gavin, according to Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

For more information about Make-A-Wish New Jersey, visit nj.wish.org

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