Indy brothers battling spina bifida surprised with free theme park trip

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A nonprofit is using cookies to give families dealing with a hard time a chance to get away from the struggles of everyday life.

The group is called Baking Memories 4 Kids, and it makes it their business to create special memories for families all over the country during the holiday season.

The group had a special surprise for two brothers from Indianapolis, Leyton and Lyjah Cox.

Both boys, born two years apart, suffer from spina bifida, which is a birth defect that affects the spine and, for some, the brain. They have spent most of their lives in and out of Riley Hospital for Children.

The surprise came to the Cox’s front door, with the sound of a siren, courtesy of the Indianapolis Fire Department. The parents, Dara and James, were in on it, telling the boys they were on their way to take pictures for the holidays. But the boys had no idea what was about to happen.

Lyjah remembers the moment he came outside to see the fire truck in front of his house.

“What is happening, what is going on?” he said.

When the family came outside they were met by Frank Squeo, the founder of Baking Memories 4 Kids. When he hopped out of the fire truck to meet the family in the driveway, he let the boys know they had just been given a week-long trip to Orlando to visit any theme park they want in the city.

The boys found out they will have a week to do nothing but be kids. Leyton, 8, is the youngest brother who is nonverbal and is also challenged with autism, had been wanting a trip to Disney for a long time.

“Logistically, it’s always tough because we have to plan around the obstacles we may face,” said Leyton and Lyjah’s father, James Cox. ” With this, I know Frank has reached out to us a couple of times, it’s such a blessing to have this opportunity, to take the boys.”

Squeo, who is also a cancer survivor, shared a special moment with the Cox family and talked about what kind of memories this trip will bring for them.

“[They] are just such a deserving family,” Squeo said. “The boys are just going to be boys that week and you guys are not going to have to worry about a lot of things. I know you worry about a lot of things on a daily basis, but this is a fun trip. Disney World, Sea World, LEGOLAND. No lines. You get to go to the front of every line.”

Baking Memories 4 Kids provides all expenses-paid vacations for families, like the Cox family, that have kids with life-threatening or terminal illnesses. They make all of this possible by selling cookies throughout the year.

To find out more about what Baking Memories 4 Kids does across the country, click here.