"Welcome to Disney World: the Place Where Dreams Come True"
Those sweet words are music to my ears. No matter how old you are, it's the only place where you're a child again and you're allowed to be. It's the Happiest Place on Earth and for good reason. People go in to the magical place and forget the outside world. The best part is, dreams really do come true there. And take it from me, magic is real.
Before I even begin to attempt to explain what an indescribable weekend I had with my SBH family at Disney World, I must first illustrate my infatuation for Disney.
I am that girl that believes in happily ever afters, the one who gets starstruck when seeing Mickey in the flesh, and that Disney geek who knows every Disney film verbatim. My bedroom looks like a seven year olds, decorated with Disney's Princesses picture frames, Disney character stuffed animals, and Disney themed pillows. You know my obsession is pretty bad when I get more excited to see Cinderella's Castle than all my nephews and nieces put together. You get the picture.
Now, imagine my reaction when SBH granted my wish and invited me to join them on their weekend getaway to Disney. Don't stress - I'll tell you.
As part of my #BecauseICan campaign, SBH and I stirred up a magical plan. I would participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon by having someone push me along the way. As for the "someone", I nominated my hero and my brother in law, Solly Elmann. With a 7.57 minute pace, pushing me would be a breeze for him (and he wouldn't mind the attention.)
Now for the real challenge: SBH suggested I try and raise $10k. If you don't know me, I'm not one of those people who can just ask an uncle here and a friend there and be set with the fundraising. This was going to be hard work, especially since I registered so late into the game. But, in 10 short weeks, my brother in law and I miraculously raised $15,656. (All Hashem, by the way).
If I could describe the entire weekend (if possible) in one word, it would have to be "magical". Between the packaged lunches to accommodations left and right, the weekend could not have been more perfect. The hotel was magnificent and luxurious. The food was delicious, with so many options to choose from. We got so blessed with the weather (sunny and 77° everyday!). The minyan and inspirational speeches were unbelievable. The continuous entertainment and music was phenomenal. The room and flight arrangements could not have gone more smoothly.
And then we cannot forget about the marathon. Originally, Disney disallowed an elite runner run while pushing a wheelchair. It has never been done before and Disney had no intention of making that happen, mainly because it serves as a safety hazard to the other athletes. As much as SBH pushed and persuaded Disney, they would not budge. Being the persistent person that I am, I took matters into my own hands and contacted them myself. After some convincing, they agreed to grant my wish. (I mean, it is the place where dreams come true, right?) Having an elite runner run while pushing a wheelchair has never been done before in Disney history and hopefully, this will set a precedent for the future. We are the first power duo to participate in Disney's Princess Half Marathon in recorded history!
Sunday morning could not arrive any faster, and when it did, I was so ready. As amazing as it felt to know that we were about to create history, the highlight of that morning was definitely seeing the spectators root us all along to the finish line. Witnessing all the support and cheering from my SBH family was truly an incredible feeling and a moment I will forever cherish.
Not only did Disney make my dream come true by setting this new record in Disney history, but SBH arranged something wonderful for me as well. My family and I - we're pretty big. And as many times as we attempt to vacation together, it never seems to work out. Until this weekend.
SBH invited my entire family to share this magical weekend with me. My parents, my siblings, my nieces and nephews, the whole mishpacha. We were together all the time; it was beautiful. And as close as we are, this trip somehow managed to make us closer. My sister in law nonchalantly called my dad "dad" for the first time. My emotionless nephew hugged me and thanked me for bringing him on this trip. My brother in law and I have created a new bond while training for the marathon. And my parents got to relax. Except when my siblings threw their kids on them. And except when they had to wake up at 4am three times. Uh never mind; scratch that last one.
This unforgettable weekend could not have mount to what it was without the wonderful SBH team and of course, Charles Anteby. Working day and night for months to perfect this weekend, they did not miss a beat in making this trip as spectacular as it was.
Truly a trip I will never forget, in a place where I created a memory to last a lifetime, it is an experience I will take with me wherever I go. So don't forget to dream, and dream big. Whatever it is that you aspire to do, reach for it, strive for it, built it. Because some dreams really do come true. As Walt Disney reminds us, "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."
Cheri Srour has been a tremendous inspiration for many including The Ocean Parkway Runners. Cheri has proven to be a role model for anyone looking to better themselves and live life to the fullest. Learn more about Cheri and her courage and strength at http://www.becican.com/ #becauseican