By Sam Jack
GODDARD – Andi Ozbun, who recently finished fourth grade at Clark Davidson Elementary School, will leave Monday for a Disney Cruise, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas.
Make-A-Wish is a charity that grants “Wishes,” providing special, customized experiences for children who have had to deal with serious medical issues.
Andi, who was born prematurely, has had trouble with her heart throughout her life. She has had three open-heart surgeries – the first when she was just 8 months old, and the most recent in 2012, when she was 4.
Andi’s mother, Amie Ozbun, said that a family cruise is a big blessing.
“It feels good, especially since we just found out over spring break that she was diagnosed with another heart condition. She did a stress test in April, and the results came back and weren’t favorable. She has another stress test in the middle of June,” Amie said. “She’s a fighter; that’s the only thing I can say.”
Andi is an ambassador for the Wichita Heart Walk, which is scheduled for June 9. She will still be cruising on that date, so she can’t attend the actual walk, but she is doing radio and TV spots and has been profiled in Wichita magazines in support of the event.
Part of what Andi wished for was a chance to swim with dolphins, and she will get the opportunity to do that during the cruise. The cruise also includes a princess makeover and other Disney-themed activities.
For fun, Andi likes to swim, and she likes to go to drag races in Wichita to watch her grandfather and her dad, Tim Ozbun, compete. She is a member of Goddard Junior Cheer and Girl Scouts.
Last summer, Andi went to a camp in Missouri for kids with heart conditions. All the camp counselors are doctors and nurses from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
“That made me feel a whole lot better (about letting her go),” Amie said. “Every kid that goes there has a heart condition and has been through the same stuff.” Andi is planning to go back to the camp later this summer.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the May 31 print edition of The Times-Sentinel. To get stories like this sooner, and to get all your community news, subscribe to The Times-Sentinel. Call 316-540-0500 to have the next edition delivered to your home.