One More Christmas: Disney trip shortened by trip to hospital

Richard Culliver suffers from terminal brain stem cancer
Richard Culliver suffers from terminal brain stem cancer

ORLANDO, FL (WIS) - Richard Culliver's week began with food on his face and his family by his side at Disney World.

Despite now being confined to a wheelchair, Culliver gave it his all in the heart of Disney.

Seven-year-old Culliver suffers from a brain stem tumor that's terminal.  His family is trying to make what might be his last Christmas memorable.

"Oh gosh, we had such a great week!" said his mother Friday.

"He got to pet a sloth and see a lot of Nickelodeon characters and he danced with Curious George," said Stephanie McMillan. "It was the most awesome thing we've seen in such a long time."

He met some heroes and he may be even stronger than them.

But midweek, his headaches started. The shunt in his head stopped draining properly and instead of a villa at Disney World,  he's now in an Orlando hospital bed.

His mom called WIS from the hospital room.

"The Make-a-Wish insurance company, I guess is trying to get things taken care of so we can get an air ambulance and make it to Columbia," said McMillan.

They are trying to get him to Palmetto Health Children's Hospital for surgery.

"After talking to the doctor this morning, he said we will definitely be there through the holiday," she said.

"It, you know, stinks," she said. "But at least Richard's here and that's the most important part of it."

And a week removed from the "happiest place on earth," they will spend Christmas in intensive care.

McMillan is trying to get an exception so Richard and his siblings can open presents together. Because, if last week was any indication, there are still smiles to be had.

"Christmas isn't gonna' be what we hoped for all the way but we get we hoped for because we have him," she said.

To follow Richard's journey, click here

To donate to his family, click here

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