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KC area boy with disorder gets trip to ocean

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Thanks to the help of volunteers and businesses, a 4-year-old Belton boy with a rare incurable genetic disorder is headed on a weeklong dream trip.

Tadan Foss and his family will stop at the Grand Ole Opry, and Busch Gardens for a lunch with Elmo. They will also get special treatment at several hotels. The route runs through Washington, D.C.; Williamsburg, Va.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“Our hospice social worker came Wednesday and handed us some vouchers for hotel stays and told us everything that was going on,” Todd Foss, Tadan’s father, told The Kansas City Star. “We just went wow, and it’s exploded since then.”

The Elves of Christmas Present, an anonymous Kansas City-area group, is making the trip possible. The Chief Elf said the group organized the expedition in less than two weeks. Just about everything, from stays in luxury suites at resort hotels to private tours and surprise lunches, is already arranged. All the family has to do is drive.

“Things just keep evolving,” he said. “As more and more people hear about it, they want to help. We’ve had to actually turn away places.”

The trip started because Tadan, who was diagnosed when he was 3 with a genetic disorder that affects the body’s central nervous system, wanted to see the ocean.

“We didn’t want the disease to spread to his vision before he got the chance to see the ocean,” said Carisa Foss, Tadan’s mother. “We wanted him to see the country and take our time as a family.”

When Chief Elf called the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis about arrangements, Melissa Lorenz, director of marketing, said it immediately made all the other things going on that day seem insignificant.

“The whole hotel is touched by this,” Lorenz said. “All of our staff has gotten together and came up with their own ideas to surprise Tadan, who can no longer walk, during his stay.”

The family says the goal is spreading Tadan’s story of touching lives — and making memories.

“We’re just trying to give him as many memories as possible so when he can no longer see, we can talk about the trip and he can go within his mind and have those memories,” Carisa Foss said. She said Tadan has been asking every day when the family will be leaving.

“He keeps saying, ‘I’m ready to go swimming,”’ she said.

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