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Pink Energy helps send off Grin Kids on memorable trip to Disney

January 23rd, 2020 | By Roger Kuznia

Grin Kids

CONCORD, N.C. – Wednesday was send-off day for Ace & TJ’s Grin Kids, a nonprofit spearheaded by Charlotte radio personalities Ace and TJ that provides an all-expense paid, 5-day experience at Walt Disney World for children who are terminally ill or chronically disabled.

As one of dozens of companies that donates to this cause, Pink Energy had the chance to see the smiles on the faces of these 20 children and their families as they were introduced to those in attendance, walked the red carpet, and then boarded a charter flight to Orlando, Florida. We also had a chance to speak to a number of families that took part in this special event.

One such family was Teresa and Gregory Johnson, whose 11-year-old daughter Darrilynn, is battling a number of medical conditions, including cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus (fluid buildup on the brain). Unable to walk but very much aware of the excitement of this day, Darrilynn was eager for the potential to meet Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins at Disney. Darrilynn’s younger sister Uzma was also along for the trip.

“It means everything to us with everybody being so busy and going through life and not having time for anything,” Teresa Johnson said. “To be able to have time with our daughters and be able to enjoy and just relax for a change, it means everything. It’s very challenging taking care of a special needs child, and this is an outlet for her to get out of the house, be able to see her favorite characters and be able to just enjoy being around other kids and just enjoy herself.”

Another family on the trip was Addie Ladd and her 6-year-old son Krash Galliher. Krash’s twin brother Tripp and Addie’s fiancée Ben were also ready to head south. Krash also has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, along with autism.

Addie is so grateful that those in the community would do something like this for her family.

“Being able to go and be with families like our own so there’s not so much, ‘They’re staring at us and we don’t feel like we can do this or that’ (makes it easier),” Addie says.

Grin Kids charity celebrating milestone anniversary

This trip marks the 20th year of this Grin Kids trip, and Ace tells us it’s been an incredible experience.

“We were just trying to survive year to year when we started,” says Ace, whose real name is David Cannon. “We didn’t know what we were doing. It’s become such a wonderful experience. We’ve added so many things through the years. We’ve learned so many things that in some ways you feel like you cheated the people that went first because we didn’t have the private transportation we have and all the specialties we have (now) because we didn’t know what we were doing. We were just making it up as we went.

“We’re just blessed to be here and to have the opportunity to keep doing this year after year, to have this radio family that helps us, to have these incredible sponsors and this incredible staff is just such a blessing.”

Pink Energy also met up with 13-year-old Mason Grant, his mother Amber and grandmother Amy. Mason was a Grin Kid from 2016, and given the fact of how much their own trip meant to them, they felt compelled to show up and support this send-off. They know the unforgettable experience that’s ahead for these families.

“Every day they leave things for the kids,” Amy says. “You get to go to the parks and experience the shows and they give you stuff so you can buy gifts to bring home.”

Pink Energy salutes Ace & TJ for its continued work in doing something so great for these special needs children.

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