The Sunshine Foundation granted another Barbour County boy his dream come true, sending him and his family to Disney World.
Ryan Durst is a 13-year-old boy from Philippi.
He has a brother Ethan, and a sister Emily.
Ryan's story began at birth when he was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
"For many years we knew that Ryan was a little different than other Downs kids," said his mother Barbara Durst. "He wouldn't talk and he always ran away, and there were some sensory issues that he had as well."
It was then one day when Ryan's mother Barbara was working at a school with special needs kids, that she noticed similar traits between Ryan and her Autistic students.
After a consultation with his doctor and a specialist, at age 7, Ryan was diagnosed with Autism on top of his Down syndrome.
Ryan has endured the struggles that come along with Down syndrome and Autism.
He also has endured the struggles the come along with being in a military family.
But things will be different this holiday season when the Sunshine Foundation brings the Durst Family a dream come true, sending them to Disney World.
"We didn't really expect it, we are grateful for it," said Ryan's father Sgt. Martin Durst. "We've been trying for many years to get our children to Disney world, but financially it never worked out on a one income family, but this came by as a wonderful gift."
"The greatest thing is probably being able to be there as a family," said Barbara Durst. "And seeing our kids interact with one another and knowing that it's something they enjoy doing."
This year the Sunshine foundation turned 35-years old.
The foundation says they are the ‘original wish-granting organization' and have granted over 36,000 wishes.
While they say every single one is different, organizers feel the same way about everyone of them.
"We know that there is a lot of struggle and sad times, and a lot of hard times," said Sunshine Foundation's President Kate Sample. "But this is a time for me to see when everyone is happy and for the foundation to enjoy."
If you would like to nominate a child to receive a wish, or donate towards the organization you can visit their website.
By Andrew Clay, Monongalia and Preston County Reporter
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