Group decides Disney dream is to fulfill someone else's

By Erica Quednau |

Published 03/10 2014 05:57PM

Updated 03/14 2014 09:27AM

Update: 5:42 pm, 3/13/14, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN -- People all over Central Illinois have been stepping up to make a dream come true for some former Carrie Busey classmates. 25 years ago, Paula Vanier and her friends went to Disney World to prove people with disabilities can do whatever they want.

They're planning a reunion to mark the anniversary and were thinking of going back. Instead, they've decided to donate the money they raised to AMBUCS. They hope it will help others with disabilities like them achieve their dreams.

For more information, click here.
Original: 5:57 pm, 3/10/14, Monday
CHAMPAIGN -- Many people say a trip to the "most magical place on Earth" is a special time in their lives. 25-years ago, Paula Vanier and four classmates got to go to Disney World. It wasn't just for the rides or meeting fun characters. It was to teach them they could do anything, even with physical disabilities. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau finds out about the trip they'll never forget.

The trip is a memory which will always be special to Paula and her friends. That's why, 25-yeras later, they want to commemorate it with a reunion, but they could use some help.

If you're looking to make your dreams come true, what better place to go than Disney World? For these five Carrie Busey students, their dream did come true.

"Maybe you're okay to be different."

25-years ago, Paula Vanier, her four classmates and their teacher, Jan Kuramoto, were sitting in class.

"Someone said, 'Well, we could never go to Disney World,' and that just started it."

They sold homemade cookbooks to raise money.

"When we started this, we thought, we weren't sure that it would really work, but we wanted to show kids that you could work towards your goals and then it did snowball and we went."

For most of the students, it was their first step towards independence.

"It was my first time in an airplane. One of our students was just a little late coming out of his room for breakfast and the adult from that room had already left and we thought, 'What's he doing in there?' and he was making his bed because he didn't realize someone would come in and make his bed."

It was those moments that made the trip special.

"We knew that kids would be thrilled with the Disney characters. We knew they'd love the Polynesian dancers. It was the little things that made it especially a great trip."

It was those little things that taught everyone... "You can do anything you want to."

Paula, Jan and the rest of the group hope to plan some sort of reunion. Big picture? Go back to Disney. But, they could use some help. They hope to raise money again for the trip. You can help make their dreams come true, again.

For more information, click here.

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