Brave Ben Green hails trip of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida, as "awesome"
FOR Ben Green, travelling to Florida in the US was the culmination of a lifelong dream.
The 16-year-old, from Cheltenham, suffers from severe cystic fibrosis and has been told by doctors he is unlikely to live beyond the age of 19.
His parents launched an appeal in the Echo for help to take him on one final holiday.
Amazingly, within days, an anonymous benefactor came forward to stump up £3,000 to help pay for flights, hotel bookings and tickets to the Disney studios.
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The Bournside School pupil has just got back from the trip, which he described as "awesome".
"I had a brilliant time," he said. "I got to go to Harry Potter world and went on all the rides. It was great.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to be well enough to go at one point so I was really glad I could make it.
"I'd like to say thank you to the people who made this possible.
"It's something I have always wanted to do and now I have done it. I'm very grateful."
Ben was diagnosed with the debilitating genetic condition when he was just two weeks old.
It means his lungs and digestive system get clogged with mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food.
He weighs just five stone and his diet has to be supplemented by a stomach-churning cocktail of tablets. His condition means he is unable to join in many of the activities youngsters his age take for granted.
Ben's mum Jaime, and his adopted dad Phil, who both travelled with him on the trip, said it had given him hope for the future.
Mum-of-nine Jaime, from St Mark's, said of the trip: "It was something Ben has always dreamed of but, even up to the last minute, we weren't sure if he was going to be well enough to make it.
"But thankfully his health was okay and apart from having to use an oxygen mask on the way back he was fine.
"The chances are, because of the way his health is, he will not be able to make this kind of long-distance trip again.
"It was great to see him so happy out there, enjoying himself and it has given him so many memories which he will treasure.
"It has made him think that anything is possible and you've got to live life to the full, however long he has got."