RECORD TRIP: Iowa’s Largest Make A Wish

An eastern Iowa girl is getting her wish granted.

Six year old Esther Groothuis is heading to Walt Disney World along with her parents and all 14 siblings.

Esther’s parents, Brad and Jenny Groothuis explain how their family grew so large, “We said hey, someday we’d like to adopt from Africa to help children who just are in need.”

So far they’ve adopted eight children from Africa in addition to their seven biological kids.

The most recent addition is six-year-old Esther.

The Groothuis’s adopted her in July, knowing she had severe seizures and other health issues.

“We felt like that was the right one for us and knowing that if we didn’t step in and do something that the situation for her was going to become much, much worse.”

It’s Esther’s wish to go to Walt Disney World that brought the family to the eastern Iowa airport Sunday.

Her wish is the largest one the Iowa Make a Wish Chapter has ever granted.

Make A Wish volunteer, Andrea Brommelkamp explains the logisitics, “No real different, difference, than any other wish other than the fact that it takes a little bit more planning on the part of our Des Moines office to make sure that all of the family can get on the same flight, which was the biggest issue.”

Three of the family’s other children also have life threatening illnesses. So the family has a relationship with Make a Wish. They were able to go on a trip to Hawaii but this is the family’s first trip going to Disney.

Esther is nonverbal and always gets excited to see animals so her parents thought she’d love Animal Kingdom.

“Before we left Uganda, I had really wanted to take her to the Entebbe zoo. It’s full of African animals but she was too sick at the time and again because all of our children are from Africa I thought it would be a really neat thing to go to Animal Kingdom and see those African animals.”

And the family is glad little Esther will be able to have some fun before undergoing a series of surgeries in less than two weeks.

The family won’t have to waste time waiting in line at the parks. By wearing their Make a Wish t-shirts, they get to skip to the front of every line.

Thanks to our sister station, KWWL.

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