July 24, 2012

"A man says he blocked his 4-year-old daughter’s Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World..."

"... because she’s cancer-free after two years of treatment, and the group should use its limited funds on a child who’s sick."

And the NY Post names the man and refers to him as "a Grinch"!

The message: Take whatever handouts you can get. Be a submissive, thankful little receiver.

61 comments:

Patrick said...

I think parents often want to give their kids everything, and most would jump at the opportunity to give their kid a nice trip like this for free. No one would have batted an eye if he'd allowed her to take the trip. I think he is giving her much more by refusing it, and think the Grinch name does not fit, unless they are referring to the Grinch after his heart expanded.

TWM said...

I read that he was doing it to get back at his ex-wife. Since the Make A Wish Foundation approved the trip I can't see how this teaches the child anything BUT that Dad is a jerk.

Expat(ish) said...

That's good parenting. And there is no sarcasm there whatsoever.

-XC

Edgehopper said...

It's not clear from the article--I hope the dad is taking to Disney World anyway, just on his own dime. Cancelling the trip completely is a little grinchy, but saying "the charity should go for kids who are dying--we've been lucky enough to be cured, we should pay for ourselves" is pretty noble.

Chip Ahoy said...

My twisted sister's bad behavior diverted a trip to Disneyland and the rest of us never forgave her.

Lie. We were mad for a day. California was Disneyland. That whole early portion of our family life was so much like Disneyland we could hardly notice. Our plane would be on Hawaii in a few days and then a fantastic little place, you would not believe this insane place called Wake Island, and before you know it, Japan and Japan turned out to be Disneyland all up and down, the missed actual Disneyland was way back there. Aaaaand we'd be coming back through again. Twice.

Matthew Sablan said...

I kind of agree with the dad; kid's recovered (or so it sounds). That's the most important wish the parents or the could ever make coming true.

Shanna said...

I can't imagine taking a 4 year old to disneyworld. I mean, it's great that make a wish has this for kids where this is their only chance, but in most situations I think they would need to be a little bit older.

But 4th grade is probably too old, as I spent some of my childhood trip annoyed at the people dressed as Mickey/etc. who kept bugging me.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's not clear from the article--I hope the dad is taking to Disney World anyway..."

What I see is that the mother wants to do the trip anyway, and she's soliciting contributions from the public.

Did the mother solicit this publicity from the newspaper -- against the father and in favor of her fund-raising effort?

I'm skeptical!

TosaGuy said...

A person can be a jerk and be right at the same time.

Coketown said...

My reactions to this post in real-time:

"A man says he blocked his 4-year-old daughter's trip to Disney World..."

LOL!

"... because she’s cancer-free after two years of treatment, and the group should use its limited funds on a child who’s sick."

Oh. I see... Umm. Onto the comments. Skip, skip, skip, skip, yay Chip Ahoy, good point Matthew, is this a good point Shanna? I haven't been to Disney Anything, skip.

Oh, a couple people mentioned the ex-wife. Should I click through to read about her? Or finish my eggs? I could do both, but eggs are a good excuse not to read the NY Post. Michael Phelps eats eggs, F.Y.I. I gather she's on a mission to raise funds for another Disney trip and the national media is helping. Great. She'll end up with ~$419,000 for her daughter's Disney trip.

Lem said...

Its in line with Obamas you didnt build that...

The theory being that everything is in a pot.. like one that Chip might use to make mole.. so if you are in line to get yours from life's buffet, what are you doing stopping and thinking about the people behind you?

Pogo said...

While I praise the sentiment behind his decision, let us pray she remains cancer free.

There's a 15-40% chance he's wrong.

"The 5-year survival rate for children with ALL has greatly increased over time and is now more than 85% overall.

The 5-year survival rate for children with AML has also increased over time, and is now in the range of 60% to 70%. However, survival rates can vary depending on the subtype of AML. For instance, most studies suggest that the cure rate for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a subtype of AML, is now higher than 80%.
"

Pogo said...

Sorry.
The child had leukemia, likely ALL or AML.

Shanna said...

While I praise the sentiment behind his decision, let us pray she remains cancer free.

Indeed.

acm said...

I think he's wrong. Unless the girl's mom and grandma are lying to the Make-A-Wish people about her diagnosis, he's basically telling them that he knows how to spend their money better than they do. If he disagrees with granting the wishes of little girls who "only" went through two years of exhausting, painful cancer treatments before kindergarten, then he's free to donate to causes he finds more deserving.

n.n said...

Edgehopper:

Exactly right. Now that his daughter has escaped near term mortality and her treatments have ended, the family can save money and take the trip at a later time. It is an ideal outcome that they are no longer in need of charitable contributions, and they should not abuse or exploit their good fortune.

Chip S. said...

Their child's illness has probably tested an already-strained relationship b/w the two parents, and now the fucking AP decides to take sides in order to get some traffic.

Althouse is right--this has to have come from the mother or her relatives. At least I hope so--it'd be outrageous if it came from the Make-a-WIsh Foundation or a health-care provider.

Personally, I'm not sure what I'd do as the dad in this case. On the one hand, he's sending his daughter a strong signal of confidence. On the other, she has been through an agonizing ordeal and could surely use a vacation.

But I respect the father's POV. Calling him a "grinch" is disgusting. And that's on the Post, not the AP, I believe.

acm said...

And, he's not taking her to Disney, but she's going anyway thanks to the donations of others. This article calls the dad estranged---I don't know *how* estranged he is, but they do appear to live in different cities. I tend to think he must be somewhat estranged or else just in a (totally understandable) state of extreme, inadvisable optimism if he thinks that the battle is over because she's currently cancer free after two years of treatment...note, it doesn't she's been cancer-free for two years. She could only be both cancer-free-for-two-years and have undergone two years of treatment if she were diagnosed as a newborn, which is quite rare. It seems much more likely that her "cancer-free" pronouncement is very recent.

acm said...

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/mother-raises-cancer-survivor-mckenna-4-disney-world-article-1.1118671

Whoops, meant to add the link in my last comment. Sorry!

traditionalguy said...

Maybe Elizabeth Warren could use the money for reparations for her Cherokee Disability.

edutcher said...

One of the few times I disagree with the NY Post.

And Dad isn't a Grinch or a jerk. In these hard times, the money should go to the kids with the real need.

BarryD said...

A "grinch" because he wants to make sure that some kid who is dying can go to Disney World?

Thorley Winston said...

I’m with Dad on this one for several reasons:

1) There has been speculation that this is really about one parent trying to get back at the other. My thinking is that whichever parent went to the media to turn their child into a news story is likely the parent that’s most at fault.


2) Even if someone from Make-a-Wish said it was okay (really, what else would they say given the publicity), with finite resources for granting “wishes,” I think the funds should go to the kids who actually are terminally ill. Just to show you what a heartless monster I am, I also think that people who are no longer handicapped shouldn’t be able to continue parking in handicapped spots and that patients who get a clean bill of health shouldn’t continue staying in hospital beds and that people who can afford to put food on their table shouldn’t line up at food shelves.


3) I’ve never been to Disney World but from talking with people who have, the ones I generally think of as being more responsible parents waited until their kids were in the First Grade to take them. A four year old can’t ride on a lot of the rides, is probably going to have difficulty with the walking (especially if she already has prior health issues) and is unlikely to remember most of the trip.


4) I hope the little girl continues her recovery and lives long enough to be at the age where she fulfills wishes that are a lot more meaningful than a trip to an over-priced amusement park.

ndspinelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lightcat said...

The linked article is very scant on details, so I went looking for more.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2176653/McKenna-May-Four-year-old-cancer-survivor-denied-Make-A-Wish-trip-Disneyland-father-WILL-online-donations.html

This trip/wish was granted a while back - she was too sick from treatments to go, so it was postponed twice. She just finished her treatment, ergo, no more chemo sickness and is well enough to go. I can't imagine trying to go to Disney during chemo -having watched my best friend go thru it, there's not much you can do except throw up and sleep. So of course they waited until the treatment was done.

Dad wasn't a part of the daughter's life until this year. She's 4 - That's at least 3 years of him not being there, including one where she was being treated for cancer.
I won't speculate as to why he wasn't involved in her life up to that point, but his sudden exertion of care/control over his daughter reminds me a bit too much of my ex bro-in-law, who (according to the good judge) is more interested in what he wants than what is best for his child.

Make a wish wants her to go, sets it up, waits for the docs to say "now is a good time," and then Dad swoops in all full of "integrity" and says no, I won't consent. For a man that wasn't there for the first 3 years of her life, that seems much more like control issues than real care and integrity.

That said, Mom doesn't appear to be that great herself, what with going to the press and all. But I understand why she did it, even if I wouldn't have done it myself.

Gahrie said...

Who gets to go on the free vacation with the child....Mom, Dad or both?

Anyone else happen to think this is the basis of the problem?

elkh1 said...

He should let his child pretend she was sick and took advantage of other people's kindness and another sick kid's opportunity, just like a well-known senator-wannabe who took advantage of claiming a non-existing heritage to land prestigious lucrative professorships and jobs from self important academic institutions and the government.

The man is a dinosaur, so out of touch with today's morality. If Fluke could make other people pay for her condoms, why shouldn't his daughter make other people pay for her trip?

Haiku Guy said...

If I had a four-year-old who had beaten cancer, I would be so grateful I would not spend an extra minute worrying about something so trivial as a trip to Disneyworld.

The fact that the Mother is making an issue of this speaks volumes about her priorities.

Joe said...

The big reveal is in the daily mail article:

"And Mr May admitted he is angry with his ex-wife and her mother, who he claims are preventing him from seeing his daughter. He told the Sentinel-Tribune: 'I wasn't allowed to be involved. It ticked me off.'"

In this specific case, Mr. May is being a weasel while wrapping himself in self-righteousness. However, there are more unanswered questions about the circumstances surrounding the entire thing.

Another question is why did make-a-wish require the consent of both parents? Does the mother has sole legal custody? Did they screw up?

Pogo said...

The story gets more awkward as each layer is pulled back.

Blecch.

Bill Dalasio said...

To those objecting to the father's decision, I have to ask, do you think it's a good idea to teach your kids to rely on charity?

alan markus said...

Perhaps when Make-A-Wish started any child with cancer was pretty much consigned to a death sentence, so whoever they helped died anyway. Their mission says "facing life-threatening medical conditions". Times have changed, more kids survive cancer, but at times those kids may wish for death instead of what they have to go through on the path to recovery. A very important person in our family's life (my daughter's best friend since 3rd grade) was diagnosed at the age of 10 with cancer. Two years later, she is well enough to participate in an upcoming Make-A-Wish trip. Yes, she is no longer terminal and is currently "cancer-free" (every 90 days she spends a day of testing at Children's Hospital to determine that). Besides the 90-day testing cycle, she is still recovering from chemo effects (hair, fatigue). She had two lung surgeries and bone replacements. Instead of amputating her leg, they used an artificial knee and a prosthetic bone that gets stretched to keep up with her growth. Within a year she will face a 45-day hospitalization to replace that prosthetic with a longer one. Having a regular job is out of the question for her mother - too many days in the hospital, doctor appointments, etc. Imagine any pre-teen girl concerned about appearing "different" when they start middle-school. Now imagine someone dear to you (child, grandchild, niece or nephew) with no hair, visible scars from surgery, using wheelchair or crutches or walking with a limp, and missing the better part of two years of social time with their peers, as well as school.

I would have walked on broken glass to help that young lady. I spent the better part of a year helping her and her family & it was a life-changing event for me. With what she has gone through (and will go through), I strongly support Make-A-Wish in their efforts to help children who have a chance of survival.

Roman said...

This is a local story. I don't think the father comes off well.

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/07/20/Help-goes-national-as-cancer-survivor-4-will-get-her-wish.html


Make-a-Wish has some rather strict screening procedures in order to qualify. I doubt they made a mistake.

Freeman Hunt said...

Maybe the whole thing is a farce to convince people that they shouldn't get divorced.

Fat Man said...

Make a wish and similar funds are my second least favorite charities. They sentimentalize childhood illness and focus donations on what is for the vast majority of patients a third or fourth level issue. Charitable donations for sick children should go first to providing them with the best medical care, second, to making their parents lives easier, and third to research. Kids bucket lists come way down the list of priorities.

SWWBO said...

Ugh. The dad is being a jerk. His little girl suffered through 2 years of chemo, and is for now, in remission.

She had been promised this trip but was too ill to go. She gets better (possibly helped by the idea of the trip) and her jerk-faced absent father who has had nothing to do with her says NO.

I'm sure this little girl is just going to love her dad for being such a rotten dad, don't you?

Triangle Man said...

The Dad is being a selfish shit. The vast majority of wishes are granted to kids who do not go on to die from their disease. Pogo pointed out why. The kid has had more than her share of shit in life so far. If Make-a-Wish wants to send her to the House of Mouse, then she should go.

Shanna said...

I wonder if the father has some sort of say about whether the kid gets to leave the state. My ex SIL wanted a clause like that, and got some sort of 'must be informed' clause instead.

Look, if this were my child and they were well enough to go, I would probably take them. But I don't think a 4 year old can really get the full experience.

I also doubt that's why the dad is making his decision. I'm all for refusing charity, but if you are refusing it on the part of your child with cancer, probably you should be supplying something in its place.

Freeman Hunt said...

Also today, 5500 children under the age of five will die in eastern and southern Africa. The number of these children who visited Disney World prior to death is unclear.

Freeman Hunt said...

But then, I would guess that almost the entire cost of Make-A-Wish is administrative. I think it unlikely that they are usually charged fees for park admissions and the like.

luagha said...

I am informed that Disneyland has an entire host of activities targeted specifically at the 3-6 year old set.

They are a rather different experience than that designed for older participants. Then again, Club 33 isn't exactly for the young.

You New said...

This family got a much better gift. Giving away the trip is called gratitude and generosity.

I notice that many people here are struggling with this.....it's because you are brainwashed to just take and take and take whenever you can.

grichens said...

Fair enough. Hope dad submitted to the chemo as well in order to reinforce the point to his daughter.

Lem said...

You right Pogo..

Too bad for the daughter... to have to "recover" from these "parents".

redcybra said...

"brainwashed to just take and take and take whenever you can"

"Ooh, she's getting a free trip!"

The price that child paid for this trip was two years of chemo and other painful treatments. Do you think she wasn't deserving of a private organization offering her a trip paid for with private funds? And BTW Ann, would you want to pay the price for this "handout"?

Triangle Man said...

@Freeman

You don't have to guess what Make-A-Wish's finances are. Their operating expenses are 10%, 14% goes to fundraising, and 78% goes to program services. Link.

Rabel said...

I'd like to think the best of Make_A-Wish, but a look at their 990 leaves me a little disappointed.

See page 8 of Part VII

Unknown said...

To the number of commentors here stating that 4 years old is too young for Disneyworld; you are incorrect. 3.5-5 years old is ideal for a first visit. The kids are getting past naps, they do have the energy to walk around the part, and can go on most of the rides other than the first coasters. We've taken four boys, one at 3.5 and two at 4. They all loved it and had no problems. Waiting until much past 5 and you start risking the amazed innocence where it isn't someone dressed as Mickey Mouse....it actually is Mickey Mouse!! Priceless.

Marshal said...

"Their operating expenses are 10%, 14% goes to fundraising, and 78% goes to program services."

This smay be true, but as with all marketing language "Program Services" probably doesn't mean what you think it means. 108 million of 245 million in total expenses were "direct costs of wishes" (44%). Even that number is grossly inflated because it includes all costs associated with the wish. Airfare and salary for a trip manager? Maybe.

If your charity of choice is being run by professionals you should understand your money is being spent primarily for their benefit.

Edgehopper said...

After seeing the Daily News article, it's clear that the Post's journalism was shoddy, and the dad's in the wrong. The Toledo Blade story tells the truth--dad was pissed off that the trip only included mom and mom's family, leaving out absentee dad, so he objected, and after realizing that his objection made him look like a selfish dick, he came up with this new "the money should go to dying kids" justification to gain the sympathy of right wingers. And it shouldn't have worked, except that the Post couldn't even measure up to the shoddy journalistic standards of the Daily News, and then Althouse trusted the Post, and Instapundit trusted Althouse.

Ann Althouse said...

The newspaper should not be trawling around in this kind of ex-spouse back and forth (unless we're talking about celebrities).

I don't even care what the whole story is. If the Post is going to tar this guy, the basis for tarring him needs to be in the article, or I'm going to slag the Post.

Thanks for doing the research, but: 1. It doesn't affect my criticism of the Post, and 2. I don't want to hear from any of these people/entities.

Ann Althouse said...

"Waiting until much past 5 and you start risking the amazed innocence where it isn't someone dressed as Mickey Mouse....it actually is Mickey Mouse!! Priceless."

Yeah, because you totally expect a mouse to be 6 feet tall.

In my experience, the costumed creatures were scary to very young children... as were rides that were billed as fun for kids, e.g., the Haunted Mansion.

David said...

When people you know get divorced, do you believe the man or the woman? My policy is to believe neither of them. They are not necessarily lying. They just are not reliable witnesses.

So no matter what the Toledo Blade says, I have no idea what either parent's motivation is.

Ann Althouse said...

And it shouldn't be about adults entertaining themselves over their kid's "amazed innocence."

The truth is, for a young child, the world is full of amazing things in a child-sized, calm environment near home. If you have a 4-year-old, you can just walk around the neighborhood and look at just about anything and talk about it. You don't have to stuff the child into a plane and into unfamiliar hotel rooms and parking lots and lines full of much taller human beings.

David said...

Rabel, the 990 is interesting. It's good to be a senior employee of consultant of Make-A-Wish.

I wonder why they are located in Arizona?

Memo to lefties: No State Taxes.

acm said...

Well that was interesting...the point of reporting this went from a dad refusing to send the message "take whatever handouts you can get" to how newspapers, even the Post, shouldn't get into the back-and-forth between parents.

Personally, I've seen some four-year-olds have a grand old time at theme parks, and I've seen some who would've been better off at home with a popsicle and a kiddie pool. We have no way of knowing which sort McKenna is, and it's not our business to know. It's the business of the people who would have to deal with it if she had a meltdown (her mom and grandma) and the people who buy the tickets and *gift* them to her (in this case that's the Make A Wish foundation, and later the internet donors). Besides, I daresay that the organization has seen a few sick preschoolers go to Disney World. I think if it were a universal truth that it's inappropriate, they'd stop sending them.

The dad does come off as horrible. That may be unfair, and he may simply be unwilling to place his daughter in the same category as other Make-a-Wish kids. But it's only a topic of conversation because he was first made out to be some fantastic, anti-entitlement guy with a great message to send his suffering four-year-old and the people who would give her a nice gift.

Unknown said...

I've had a similar argument going with my wife for quite some time.
My eldest qualifies for Make-a-Wish. I feel (strongly) that taking advantage of this would be an abuse of the charity others have provided. She isn't facing imminent, painful death, and that's how the charity markets itself to the general population.

For the record, suffering does not "buy" you anything. Just because you've suffered does not mean anybody else owes you a darned thing.

Chuck said...

Why can't people mind their own goddam business? What sort of an asshole could even form a solid opinion based on the information in the story? Truth be told, no one on this blog gives a shit if the little girl or her dad lives or dies. But what a great opportunity to preen.

Simon Kenton said...

ACM - "The dad does come off as horrible." He does. I used to also. I would pick up the kids and they would tell me that mommy had planned them this wonderful activity, and I wasn't even going to let them go. It was my half of the summer, during which paradise lay, until I ruined it for them. Finally the judge asked her, "Do you have any idea how damaging, how unfair it is to your children and your ex-husband to dangle activities in front of them and force him to be the bad guy when he's just exercising his custody rights?" Blank look. "You don't, do you?" Then he ordered her to quit scheduling during my time. She did not quit and she did not stop informing them of what delights would have awaited them if I had not spoiled all. How that came out is another story. I'd just take the portrait of the daddy as a turd cum grano salis - if you like salt on turds. Maybe he is and maybe he is not. There's something about that double-layer of femail, like hauberk and plate, between him and his kid, that gets me wondering. I'd suggest it's just another piece of evidence that a newspaper habit is doing us no good, as citizens, as a republic.

DH said...

It seems to me that this article contains just enough info to raise a stir but not enough to form an opinion.

That said, I find myself in much the same position. This March my 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. The outpouring of generousity toward her and other children with cancer has been unbelievable.

Phoenix Childrens Hospital, where she is being treated, gave her a rolling suitcase filled with goodies like a Nintendo DS and a portable DVD player; but we gave it back explaining that my daughter would do just fine with her new ipad and her laptop.

I make a pretty good living and I have health insurance. Her illness has been tough in many ways, but financially is not one of them.

But everyday, I see that a lot of the other kids at the hospital don't have anything. I would much prefer to see the hospital's limited charitable resources go to them.

I dont think I'm a grinch because my daughter is not going without. When Make a Wish contacted her, she decided she wanted to go to Italy, but I'll be happy to take her myself on my own dime. I've seen too many sick children who could use the money for basic necessities to allow myself to accept their generous offer.

I hope thats also true of the situation the NY Post wrote about; unfortunately they didn't see fit to give enough info to know for sure.

K said...

Good for the dad. We made the same decision eight years ago. Our daughter was born with a common heart defect. She had open heart surgery, got it fixed, recovered, and is now normal. In the midst of that, we were invited to have her "Make a Wish." We declined. Make a Wish should BE what their advertising says ... for children with incurable life-threatening illnesses. They deceive and we declined to participate. We also educate others about what we have learned about Make-a-Wish and urge people to donate elsewhere. I suggest the Ronald McDonald Houses ... now they actually DO what they say they do and it helps seriously ill children and their families.