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‘A dream is a wish your heart makes’: Glenville boy heads off to Disney World thanks to Make-A-Wish

The Broussard Family is headed to the happiest place on Earth this week, and it’s something that 5-year-old Batson Broussard cannot wait for.

Arranged by local Minnesota Make-A-Wish staff and volunteers Kayla Hauge and Jeanne Sheehan, a send-off party was held for the Broussard Family of Glenville, who will be heading down to Disney World for an adventure-filled week that’s covered with Disney magic.

“Make-A-Wish Minnesota grants wishes for children with critical or terminal illnesses,” Hauge said. “We go through a referral process, meet the child and understand the heart of their wish. We try to grant a wish that would make the children forget about being sick for a little while. This trip gives them something to look forward to. Instead of thinking about appointments, they’re thinking about ‘ten more days until we go to Disney!’”

Batson Broussard and his mom Dana look at a stuffed dog given to him during his send-off party Sunday afternoon. Through Minnesota’s Make-A-Wish, Batson and his family got a trip to Disney World. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindialyherald.com

A group of friends and loved ones gathered at Sheehan’s house in Austin on Sunday, and there, Batson was greeted by the sight of numerous Mickey and Minnie Mouse balloons and plenty of ice cream from his favorite local business in town, Munch Ice Cream & Snack Lab.

Although Munch is closed for the season, that didn’t stop owner Israel Gonzalez from donating batches of ice cream and toppings for the party. Batson loves putting together his ice cream treats with fun toppings like gummy bears, sprinkles and more. Since the child eats a liquid diet from a feeding bag, he doesn’t have a chance to enjoy a lot of different foods.

Dana Broussard, Batson’s mother, was extremely touched by the show of love for her son by Munch’s donation and involvement with the wish.

“It is amazing that they would give back like that,” Dana said. “We’ve always enjoyed supporting local businesses, and that’s Munch. They’ve always been caring, and we always went there when it’s open. We’re so thankful and grateful. Batson loves making something creative and fun with all the different toppings.”

Batson Broussard reaches out for a hug during his send-off party Sunday.

Upon discovering the ice cream, Batson was ecstatic to be able to enjoy the treats despite their seasonal availability being limited during this time of year.

“He was so happy,” Hauge said. “Last year, Make-A-Wish granted 264 wishes, and only half of the referrals are eligible for a wish. We look for different volunteers, and we were so thankful that Munch would donate their product so that Make-A-Wish could put toward funds for other wishes. We’re very appreciative that local businesses are wanting to help out.”

Having Batson be able to enjoy the trip was something Dana and her family wanted to make sure he had a chance to do. Having been diagnosed with Joubert Syndrome, the young Glenville boy has faced struggles that many have never had to experience at such a young age.

Joubert Syndrome is a genetic condition that affects an individual’s muscles and eventually evolves into difficulty coordinating movement in early childhood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those diagnosed may experience abnormal eye movements, and developmental abilities in language and motor skills are delayed in various levels of severity. While some have mild to severe cognitive disabilities, others may not.

Batson was also recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder.

Batson Broussard smiles as he receives a stuffed dog from Nora Tweeten during this sendoff party Sunday. Through Minnesota’s Make-A-Wish, Batson and his family got a trip to Disney World.

Dana recalled the life threatening experience her son had after experiencing complications from surgery. He spent 10 days in intensive care and has since been working through treatments. To help take her child’s mind off of the treatments, she got connected with Give Kids the World, which ultimately resulted in Make-A-Wish Minnesota granting Batson’s wish of going to Disney World.

The company has held a special role in her son’s life.

“Batson has limited communication, and he uses their figurines and movies since he’s not able to verbalize,” Dana said. “This trip gave us that hope to have something to look forward to as a family. This is his dream vacation.”

The upcoming trip has a jam-packed itinerary and will provide opportunities for the Broussards to meet with other families who also have children experiencing an illness or condition.

Batson Broussard looks through a book with Nora Tweeten during his sendoff party Sunday.

Batson is most looking forward to having dinner with the Beast and shaking the hand of Emmett from “The Lego Movie.”

The Broussards knew about the wish for several months and are excited to embark on a journey with the children. The trip is all-expenses paid, so the family will not have to worry about finances, allowing them to focus on spending time with Batson.

“I’m so excited to see his reaction, it’ll be worth a million bucks,” Dana said. “I’m so excited. This gave us hope and something to look forward to. There’s so many times during our day in our lives that’s dictated by Batson’s schedule to go to the doctor and have appointments. This is a positive thing to look forward to.”