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Manorville boy gets his wish: a week at Walt Disney World

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Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Alexei Bardyguine, 10, of Manorville, recently returned from his Make a Wish vacation to Disney World.Wednesday November 26, 2014.

A 10-year-old Manorville boy and his family are grateful this Thanksgiving for each other, for their faith and for a recent wish fulfilled.

Alexei Bardyguine, like his older brother Nicholas, is a big hockey fan and loves to play whenever he is able. But because he suffers from primary immune deficiency, his school attendance and extra-curricular activities often have to take a backseat while he undergoes weekly transfusions and medication.

β€œIt makes me tired and grumpy and sometimes it burns,” Alexei said.

But thanks to the Make-A-Wish organization, Alexei was able to forget about painful needles and procedures for a time during a recent weeklong vacation at Walt Disney World with his family.

β€œIt was fun. My favorite was Universal Studios. And I liked the castle at Magic Kingdom,” Alexei said with a shy smile.

Fulfilling the wishes of chronically ill children offers them hope and a respite from their pain, said Dana Antkowiak, of Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

β€œA wish has a powerful impact on our kids. These kids are fighting. We want them to view a wish as part of a treatment plan,” Antkowiak said. β€œWe’re not about giving up, we’re about giving hope.”

Since diagnosed with the disorder in early 2013, he has endured the often painful treatments to prevent more serious infections and illnesses. But through it all, he and his family draw strength from their faith and from their church community at Christ Prince of Peace in Ford City.

β€œHe’s very religious,” his mother, Jennifer, said, looking at a photo of Alexei hooked up for a transfusion, clutching rosary beads. β€œWe rely on God and prayer, and we’ve been blessed.”

For Thanksgiving, the family plans to gather and write what they are grateful for on artificial leaves to add to a thanksgiving tree.

Jennifer said she is thankful for the Make-A-Wish organization and for all those who donate blood to help people like her son.

β€œHe relies on blood donors. It can take 100 donors to get one vial of plasma,” she said. β€œIt’s such an amazing gift.”

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or [email protected].

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