Eskasoni boy with rare disease gets wish granted for trip to Disney World

·2 min read
Francis jij Googoo, left and Liam Googoo are brothers. Francis has a rare disease that is causing him to go blind and Liam wants his older brother to see Disney World before that happens.  (submitted by Nora Poulette - image credit)
Francis jij Googoo, left and Liam Googoo are brothers. Francis has a rare disease that is causing him to go blind and Liam wants his older brother to see Disney World before that happens. (submitted by Nora Poulette - image credit)

Liam Googoo, 7, always looks out for his older brother.

Francis jij Googoo, 9, from Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia has autism and is non-verbal so Liam will make sure kids on the playground don't tease Francis, and he helps his parents care for his brother.

Francis was recently diagnosed with Bardet-Biedl syndrome, which is causing him to lose his vision. Liam wants Francis to see Walt Disney World in Florida before he loses his sight.

"I love my brother with all my heart," said Liam.

Earlier this month, Make-A-Wish Canada promised to make it happen.

"We're happy to say that Francis will have their wish to travel to Disney granted," said Stuart Chase, spokesperson for Make A Wish Canada, in an email to CBC News.

Chase said they do not track the race or ethnicity of the children they help but he estimated they grant a couple dozen wishes a year to Indigenous children across Canada.

"For us to have his wish granted, it means the world," said Nora Poulette, the boys' mother.

"He gets to be a kid."

The family is planning to take the trip in November, depending on when they secure passports.

Honorary fire chief

It's a much-needed break for the whole family. Francis was also diagnosed with Blount's disease, a condition that causes pain and bowed legs, and he recently had surgery to try to correct it. Poulette said the conditions Francis has been diagnosed with have been hard to navigate; all the medical screenings can overwhelm him and lead to meltdowns.

But her family and community are supportive, she said. The Eskasoni Fire Department made Francis an honorary fire chief during the Make-A-Wish announcement and both boys got fire department hats and jackets.

Eskasoni Fire Department/Facebook
Eskasoni Fire Department/Facebook

Poulette said the surrounding Mi'kmaw communities have also chipped in to make sure Francis has access to an accessibility tablet, as his vision loss is already significant and he has tunnel vision. She said Francis likes to watch YouTube videos in many languages, Spanish in particular.

She said her boys like to craft things together, and recently made pumpkins out of pipe cleaners. They also like to colour together.

"My favourite thing is to play with him," said Liam.

submitted by Nora Poulette
submitted by Nora Poulette

Poulette said Liam is always willing to help with his brother.

"He is so compassionate with other kids with special needs,"said Poulette.

She said her boys are both excited for the trip. Poulette said Francis is most looking forward to seeing the iconic Disney castle.

Liam went to Disney World when he was three and wants his brother to see it, too. He's excited to watch his brother's wish come true.

"He can have fun there," said Liam.

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