Hockey players team up to give ailing boy his wish: a trip to Disney World

Sandra Bookman Image
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Hockey players team up to give ailing boy his wish: a trip to Disney World
Sandra Bookman has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- They are stars on the ice, and bigger stars off it.

Two teenage hockey players on Long Island made it their mission to help send a terminally ill boy to Disney World.

Luke Carusillo looks a lot like any other video-loving 4-year old.

His parents, Jennifer and Ralph, wish it was that simple. But Luke has a terminal brain tumor, and that makes every moment with his family that much more precious.

"The original diagnosis was hard to swallow. It was hard to take. It was probably the hardest day of our lives," said Jennifer.

Luke's big wish, like so many other kids his age, is to take a trip to Disney World.

Asked what are his favorite rides at Disney, he replied, "All of them!".

That's where 16-year old hockey buddies Lenny Schwartz and Kyle Jadatz come in.

Wanting to give back, the pair reached out to the Make A Wish Foundation, and that's how their mission to send Luke and his family to Disney World was born.

"His courage, his bravery is what stood out to me and Kyle the most and that's what truly meant a lot to us," Lenny said.

"Our goal was defintely to help out Luke and his family but also to influence others and try to do the right thing," said Kyle.

Over the weekend, at the Superior Ice Rink in Kings Park, the teens' team, the Long Island Royals, dedicated their game to Luke as part of a Make A Wish Foundation fundraiser, and met the 4-year old and his family for the first time.

"It was heart-touching and a special feeling probably that i'll never forget," said Lenny.

"With all the stuff that goes on in a 16-year-old life, high school and their sports and whatever else they have going on, it was remarkable to see how they kind of orchestrated the whole thing," aid Ralph Carusillo.

It turns out, Lenny and Kyle have exceeded their original $7,000 goal, actually raising more than $9,500.

So Luke and his family are going to Disney World, thanks to the kindness of strangers, turned life-long friends.

"Lenny and Kyle, I would love for my boys to grow up to be just like them," said Jennifer.