Tyler's Parade Of Homes Makes Kids' Wishes Come True - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/06/03 - Tyler

Tyler's Parade Of Homes Makes Kids' Wishes Come True

Alec Thigpen looks like a pretty normal five year-old. He's cute, talkative, very active, and he spent his fifth birthday last December in a pretty special place. The Make-A-Wish foundation sent him to Disneyworld.

"He's always talking about it," Dad John Thigpen says. "He's always drawing pictures of it, saying he wants to go back to the village."

Alec's wish was one of over three hundred granted locally by East Texas's Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tyler's Parade of Homes is the largest sponsor in Smith County, and Jan Payne says it's a good partnership.

"Actually the parade as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation are about family," Director Jan Payne says, "and dreams and making those dreams come true."

Alec's trip to Disneyworld wasn't just a child's dream come true. For his family, it was a chance to spend a weekend at rest, away from their everyday health concerns.

"For us it was just a chance to do something with him that we couldn't afford to do at the time," John says. "It just happened to fall into his life in a place where he'll remember it forever and we'll remember it also."

"They're able to look back at that as a very happy joyful time, a time of strength," Jan explains. "It's amazing when all of these children are on trips they're pain free."

As thousands trek the parade of homes trail, their footsteps bring comfort to kids in need.

So anything their heart desires can come to them.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.

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