An 11-year-old from Concord will leave for the trip of a lifetime in a couple of weeks; she just doesn’t know it yet.
Isabel “Izzy” Cashion and her family will leave for an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World later this month after she was selected as an Ace and TJ’s Grin Kid.
About Ace & TJ’s Grin Kids
When Ace & TJ began their morning radio show in Charlotte— which plays on Channel 96.1— they were besieged with requests from numerous nonprofits and began donating their time and money to a number of different charities.
But eventually they felt called to develop their own charity dedicated to bringing joy into the lives of terminally ill and chronically disabled children.
Ace & TJ’s Grin Kids began as a nonprofit in 2000. The organization got its name from their morning show motto, “You Grin, You’re In!”
Each year, the nonprofit aims to provide a new group of terminally ill and chronically disabled children and their families with a magical and memorable five-day, all-expense-paid vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Children must be between the ages of 5-12 and be nominated by someone familiar with their condition. This must also be their first trip to Disney World.
This year, Izzy was selected as one of 21 Grin Kids that will go on the trip with their families.
An amazing opportunity
Izzy lives with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and hydrocephalus. She is a twin and was born three months early which caused the cerebral palsy and was diagnosed with epilepsy in the first grade. Her mother, Erin Cashion, said Izzy also has an intellectual disability but nothing has stopped her from being active in many organizations.
Izzy is part of an adaptive swim team at the West Cabarrus YMCA, plays wheelchair basketball with the Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets and competes in cycling.
“We like to keep her as active and as busy as possible,” Erin Cashion said. “She is engaged with many different organizations.”
Izzy’s family was actually on their way back from visiting family in Orlando, Florida when they got the call that she had been selected.
“We actually got the phone call in June. We were visiting family and they had all gone to Disney but we did not because it was too expensive. Literally the day we left we got a call,” Erin Cashion said. “They (family) knew we applied for it and we couldn’t go in case we won it. We couldn’t really afford it anyway. If we were able to go it will be through this organization.”
The trip is set for October 17-21 and the family decided to wait and surprise Izzy with the news right before they leave, but her twin sister, Lily, is already in the loop.
“She’s really excited. We took her on a scavenger hunt through the mall to tell her,” Erin Cashion said. “She wants to surprise Isabel with a scavenger hunt.”
The family knows Izzy will love meeting her favorite “Frozen” characters – Olaf, Anna and Elsa—and Lily has already been looking up information on all the rides. Erin Cashion said it’s also perfect timing because when they get back, Izzy has to undergo a major surgery.
“It worked out well to have a lot of fun and do something light-hearted before the surgery,” she said. “They’ve literally asked for years when they will finally get to go.”
With much of their money going to medical bills, Erin Cashion said she can’t thank Ace & TJ enough for allowing them to be part of this amazing trip.
“We feel very, very lucky and really excited. It’s an amazing opportunity and not something we can do on our own. We are grateful Ace & TJ is doing something like this,” she said. “Just to go on the trip period, let alone have it paid for is amazing.”