A Joplin boy’s Wish to go to Cars Land

In many ways Andy Shepherd is like a lot of other 14 year old kids in Joplin. He plays video games and is obsessed with cars. In fact, his favorite movie is Disney’s “Cars”.

“Driving cars, I like,” Andy tells us.

Because of a brain trauma suffered as a baby, Andy has a form of cerebral palsy that affects his vision, learning and contributes to a host of other health problems.

Now, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Andy gets to take his love for cars one step further.

Andy’s grandmother, Linda Shepherd, says he knew right away what his wish would be.

The Shepherd’s are going on a six day trip to Disney Land and Car Land in California. A send-off party was held for Andy on Wednesday – the party, of course, was held on Route 66 – the famous route that inspired the movie “Cars”.

“He was so excited and as it’s gotten closer and closer he is really bouncing off the walls,” Linda says.

Make-A-Wish says its goal is to give every child with a life threatening illness a wish.

“Many people, when they hear the term Make-A-Wish, they think it’s the child’s last wish, the final wish before they die – that is not the case,” says Marla Gouley, a wish granter. “Make-A-Wish is an incentive for that child to continue on.”

“We wouldn’t ever be able to let him do this, you know I would love to be able to take him to Disney Land and all but I’m living on Social Security and finances aren’t real, long,” says Linda.

Andy had back up choices. If he hadn’t gotten his first wish he would have been happy with an electric scooter or bigger bedroom with a his own bathroom.

But with the support of a community behind him Andy’s first wish will come true.

The Shepherd leave for their trip Thursday morning out of Kansas City and will return Tuesday.

The Southwest Missouri chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation gives away around 60 wishes in the region every year. For more information on Make-A-Wish or how you can volunteer to make a wish come true visit Make-A-Wish Missouri.