Ben can't believe his eyes as he enters his new bedroom.
By DIANE DIERKS
Ronald McDonald made a special appearance in Brazil on Saturday. He was in town to say hello to Ben Durcholz and his family.
Ben is the recipient of a wish from the Indiana chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation funds projects for children who are battling life-threatening health conditions. Each child chooses a wish and then the organization and volunteers coordinate to make the wish come true.
Ben has been diagnosed with a form of mucopolysaccharidoses, which, according to information provided by the National MPS Society, is a group of hereditary diseases caused by enzyme deficiencies, which prevent the breaking down and recycling of cell materials, resulting in damage throughout the body.
Ben wished to have his bedroom redecorated with a McDonald's activity area and miniature basketball court, complete with bleachers and a wood floor. Volunteers, friends and family members worked countless hours to collect materials and remodel the room.
On Saturday, Ben spent the afternoon out with friends and then came home to a huge surprise. There was a crowd of people waiting at his house to throw a party and his room had totally been transformed.
Ben could hardly believe his eyes when he entered the room and immediately started shooting hoops and checking out the life-size statue of Ronald McDonald that sits on a park bench in the corner.
Shortly after Ben arrived home, an RV pulled up in the Durcholz's driveway and Ben was amazed to see Ronald McDonald step out of the van. Ben was initially a little shy, but then led Ronald upstairs to take a look at his new room.
The Durcholz home was overflowing with close to a 100 people. A party was set up in the garage and children bounced outside on a trampoline. Annette, Ben's mother, commented, "It's exciting, awesome and overwhelming! I'm just in awe."
Teresa Bradley, the Indiana Make-A-Wish volunteer coordinator for the project who has participated in 27 Make-A-Wish projects over the last 3 1/2 years said, "It's incredible - way beyond what we thought it would be."
Ronald McDonald stayed for the party and entertained the crowd. According to Sheila Capua, McDonald's operation consultant, Ronald McDonald does not usually make residential appearances and said, "It is really unique that Ronald is coming here today."
For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation contact Teresa Bradley at 446-6908 or Make-A-Wish Indiana at (317) 636-6060.