PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — ‘For every wish we’re able to grant, there’s another child with critical illness waiting for theirs.’ That’s what Make-A-Wish does, and it’s impacted lives right here in Central Illinois.

William Lutz is a five-year-old who was born with a transposition of the great arteries. It’s a condition where his aorta and pulmonary artery were switched in location. To fix the condition, he had open-heart surgery soon after birth.

Theresa Lutz, William’s mother, said, “From that point on he had some complications and kind of slow process of getting better. He had some airway issues and some other things going on that made his recovery process a little difficult.”

Theresa and Mike Lutz, William’s parents, were notified of his condition when Theresa was pregnant, and shortly after he received open-heart surgery, Make-A-Wish contacted them.

Theresa said, “That’s when his journey started and he decided that he wanted to go to Disney World.”

The wish was confirmed in 2020 right before COVID-19 hit. He was three at the time. Once the world opened back up, the wish came true in October 2022.

“We were very excited when we found out that it would happen, just because I would say almost weekly he would say ‘Am I going to get my wish, am I going to get to go to Disney World?’” said Theresa Lutz. “And I would say ‘yes, yes,’ and I was just hopeful that that really would happen.”

Once it did come true, Make-A-Wish had the process solidified perfectly.

Mike Lutz said, “They really made it very seamless I feel like, they really tried to watch out for us, we had a good plan in getting there.”

As for William, his favorite part of heading to Disney World was riding the Tower of Terror.

Now, it’s a memory they all carry fondly.

After the trip, they were given a ‘Give Kids the World’ pass to allow them free or reduced entry into museums and amusement parks around the country.

William just finished his first season of soccer and his future outlook is positive. But the journey doesn’t stop there because everybody can make an impact on a child’s life who’s struggling with critical illness.

All that needs to be done is a donation to Make-A-Wish, or taking steps physically at the Walk for Wishes on Oct. 15 at Donovan Park in Peoria.

To sign up or to donate, click here.