WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Jaxon Saulter, a 3-year-old from Wilmington, is all too familiar with hospitals, having undergone multiple surgeries for spina bifida.
On Monday, Saulter made another trip to the hospital but this time he left with a smile on his face.
Saulter and his family are headed to Disney World after having a wish granted by the Marty Lyons Foundation.
“When he gets there and sees Mickey Mouse, it’s going to be unreal,” said Amanda Saulter, Jaxon’s mother. “He’s going to be so excited. It’s like a dream come true.”
The foundation helps grant wishes for children diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness in 13 states, and was started in 1982 by former New York Jet Marty Lyons, a member of the team’s famed New York Sack Exchange dominant defensive line in 1981-82.
Lyons came up with the idea after the death of his father and close friend just days apart.
“I always walked away asking why,” said Lyons. “Why me? What am I doing wrong in life that God would take away two people that were so important in my life? Then I realized that life wasn’t going to stop. It was going to continue and for me to continue, I needed a device.”
The Marty Lyons Foundation has made dreams come true for more than 7,500 kids and their families.
“We are not looking for funding for these wishes,” said Lyons. “That’s the whole thing about life. You can always make more money. You can’t make more time, and what we are trying to do for these kids is to persevere time.”
The foundation has granted wishes for others in North Carolina but this is the first in Wilmington.