County Derry family’s plea to fund dream Disney World holiday for disabled son

Nathan Mulholland.
Nathan Mulholland.

The parents of a 5-year-old boy from Derry, Northern Ireland, who has epilepsy and global development delay, is appealing to their local community to support the charity that wants to treat her family to a dream holiday to Disney World, in Florida, in 2018.

Tom and Claire Mulholland were initially told that they had an extremely rare chance of conceiving naturally, therefore the pair were delighted to learn that Claire was pregnant.

Shortly after their son, Nathan, was born he started to regularly become ill and began to have convulsions. He required multiple hospital admissions, for prolonged seizures, before he was diagnosed with generalised tonic-clonic epilepsy and global developmental delay at 18 months old.

Nathan, a pupil at St Mary’s School, in Maghera, now requires a video monitor in his room to alert his parents if a seizure occurs during the night. Whilst he’s managing well at school, Nathan requires a high level of care as he displays behavioural difficulties. He also has no awareness of danger and can have emotional outburst in noisy environments.

To get some much needed respite from his condition, Claire decided to apply for a place for her son on Caudwell Children’s annual Destination Dreams holiday to Disney World, in Florida.

Caudwell Children is a national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.

The charity created Destination Dreams in 2007, to give 25 children, with life threatening conditions, the opportunity to experience a ‘Dream’ holiday to Disney World.

Claire aged 37, says that she was delighted to learn that Nathan has been offered a place on the trip. However, the race is now on to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of the holiday.

As Claire explained: “I was so happy to learn that we have been selected for the dream trip, I simply couldn’t believe it.

“The families are really well looked after as the charity provide a dedicated team of paediatric doctors and nurses who are available 24/7. They also take along over 40 volunteers to assist families around the theme parks.

“Because of the associated costs of taking very poorly children overseas the charity has to pay, on average, £12,000 per family.

“However, with the current economic climate there’s always the risk that they won’t be able to raise enough money by the time the holiday comes around in December 2018.

“Therefore, all the families on the trip have decided to appeal to local communities to ensure that we get on that plane to Florida in December.”

Claire, says that the holiday is really important for all the family. As she explained: “In the past we have avoided environments that might trigger Nathan’s emotional outbursts so it has been a struggle to enjoy previous holidays together.

“The trip would create special memories for us all to cherish as a family, having the chance to spend quality time together and relax.”

The dream holiday would not only benefit Nathan, but also his six-year-old sister, Danielle who helps to care for Nathan. Danielle is a Disney fan, she loves all the Disney characters, therefore this trip would provide Danielle with a much deserved treat, after helping to look after her brother.

“I hope the public support our fundraising campaign,” said Claire. “We need all the money possible to get on the plane to Florida.”

Trudi Beswick, Chief Executive from Caudwell Children, is urging the community to get behind the family’s appeal. She said: “For many families caring for children with terminal or life-threatening conditions, the thought of leaving the protected environment of their own home, and their medical support, fills them with dread.”

“By providing 24 hour professional medical provision and a team of volunteers, for the duration of the trip, Destination Dreams gives families the chance to create happy memories, often for the first time!

“Unfortunately, the level of assistance that the families need doesn’t come cheap. That’s why it’s vital that Nathan and the family get the fundraising support that they so desperately need and deserve.”

You can support Nathan through his Just Giving Page here:

You can also donate by texting: PEAL72 then the £amount to 70070