East Texas toddler granted wish during massive town celebration - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas toddler granted wish during massive town celebration

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ATHENS, TX (KLTV) -

An entire East Texas town came out Sunday to surprise a local toddler, as the Make-A-Wish foundation helped make his dream a reality.

Three-year-old Karter Whittenberg of Eustace was born with nephrotic syndrome, a treatable but incurable kidney disease.

Sunday, a massive and surprise parade complete with storybook characters and cheerleaders was held by the town all to surprise little Karter.

Karter was diagnosed with the disease in March, which causes his kidneys to leak protein into the body.

"It started out with swelling to the face," said Karter's mom Christin Whittenberg. "We took him to the hospital and thy diagnosed him with it. It's a very serious condition it's an incurable disease, it is treatable but it is incurable."

Whittenberg said there are both good days and bad days, but on the bad days, "he swells, he wakes up when he doesn't feel good, it affects him daily. He goes to school here in Eustace and he's sometimes embarrassed because his face is real big."

On Sunday, representatives from the Make-A-Wish foundation helped make the toddler's wish a reality: a free seven day trip for his entire family, including three brothers and his grandma, to Disney World.

"Karter loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," his mother said. "His wish was to go see Mickey Mouse at his house."

It's something Karter's pre-school teacher Holly Bailey takes personally.

"I have a son who has muscular dystrophy," Bailey said, "We've done a Make-A-Wish event ourselves. It's very important because it gives them a chance to just get away and not worry about the problems they have with the medical bills and just enjoy being together as a family."

It was a turnout the family called "unreal," all to send them off on a trip that will soon put a huge smile on little Karter's face.

"I think he's going to love it," Whittenberg said. "He's going to be excited."

The Whittenbergs will take off for Florida in early December. While there, they will get to make stops at Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World.

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