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Entries in Disney (2)

Saturday
Mar162013

Couple's Dream Honeymoon Comes True Thanks to Kindness of Strangers

Strangers donated over $60,000 to give one couple battling cancer their dream wedding and honeymoon. Photo Courtesy ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Marrying his high school sweetheart in his hometown of Kewanee, Ill., was a day Nolan Keane had dreamed of, but didn't know if he'd live to see.

That's because Keane, 28, has been battling brain cancer since 2008 -- fighting the disease for nearly four years longer than doctors originally expected.

"We have wanted to do this for a long time and we've talked about it for a really long time," his sweetheart, Morgan Carstens, 26, said of the wedding. "It's amazing that we get to see our friends and family and be together."

Keane, whom Carstens now proudly calls her husband, was diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain cancer in 2008 and told he had one year to live.

The diagnosis of stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme was devastating for the Missouri State University grad and former Division I baseball player, but he was determined to fight.

Fight he did, undergoing eight brain surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy and trial treatments, with Carstens all the while by his side.

Carstens, a 26-year-old registered nurse, put her work on hold, moving in with Keane's family to care for him, helping him with the simple things like getting dressed, taking a shower or walking without his wheelchair.

"I didn't think twice about it. I knew he needed me and I would kind of feel guilty taking care of others," she said. "We just take it day by day and we make it work. ... You get put in a situation and you do what you have to do."

Last November, on a family trip to Disney World, Keane proposed to Carstens, getting out of his wheelchair and down on one knee, to her surprise.

"We went to go see the fireworks. Since there was so much walking, he told me, 'My back is really hurting. Can you get me out the wheelchair?' And then [he] got down on one knee and I forgot to say yes. I think he kind of knew by my response," she said.

After the results of a recent MRI had shown that Keane's cancer had spread and he had just months left to live, Keane told family and friends his final wishes were to marry Carstens -- something he considered long overdue -- and take their honeymoon to the place he proposed, Walt Disney World.

"He just loves that place and has gone every year growing up," she said. "He's a little kid at heart and when he goes it brings back so many good memories. [It is] a place to forget about all the bad things and enjoy every single moment."

Friends and family set out to make the couple's final days together as memorable as possible.

Carstens' sisters, Jaclyn Carstens and Lindsey Williamson, were determined to help give the couple the "dream wedding" they felt they deserved, but couldn't afford on their own. They rallied the community, raising money and awareness on Facebook.

Then, in late February, they set up a fundraising page on GiveForward.com, a website that specializes in raising money in medical crises, and the page went viral. The couple's story was first reported in the Chicago Sun-Times and quickly spread.

In only four days, complete strangers contributed $60,000 -- far exceeding their initial $20,000 goal -- to put towards their honeymoon to Disney World. Now, the donations have totaled $66,397, shocking Keane and Carstens.

"We have been only asking for support, encouragement and prayers, so when all of this blew up we all had every single emotion as possible about it. It's inspiring to see so many good-hearted and caring people out there," Carstens said. "We were kind of in shock. We'll sit up and we'll read [the comments], and sometimes we'll cry and smile. We are blessed."

On March 9, Keane got his first wish fulfilled. The two tied the knot in Peoria, Ill., surrounded by friends and family. Local wedding vendors donated everything, including the photographer, hair and makeup for the bridal party and food, to make their big day a fairy tale.

"It started with flowers and friends donating some food," Carstens said, "and then a wedding planner donated her time to get things together. It's been an outpouring from the community. They've made this whole day possible for us."

Their slogan, "Nolan Wins," which has been printed on wristbands worn by supporters throughout Keane's fight against brain cancer, was tweaked for the occasion: "Nolan Wins, Nolan Weds."

"He's been such a fighter. He's grown into such an amazing person. He was an amazing person and he's even more amazing now," the bride said.

Carstens said they plan to take their honeymoon to Disney World at the end of March and put the rest of the money towards medical bills and towards making the accommodations at Keane's parents' home even more wheelchair-friendly.

"This experience has made us look at life differently," she said. "We are extremely thankful."

Disney is the parent company of ABC News and ABCNews.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun052012

Michelle Obama Announces Food Initiative with Disney Theme Parks

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The Walt Disney Co. will drop advertisers from its children's programming that do not comply with tighter nutrition guidelines instituted by the media and entertainment giant, the company said Tuesday.

First lady Michelle Obama appeared with Disney CEO Bob Iger to endorse the move, which was coupled with health-conscious revisions to menus at Disney's theme parks and resorts.

Obama called the decision a "game changer" for private industry.

"It's huge," she said at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., adding, "Just a few years ago if you had told me or any other mom or dad in America that our kids wouldn't see a single ad for junk food while they watched their favorite cartoons on a major TV network, we wouldn't have believed you."

The first lady said Disney had "turned that conventional wisdom on its head," noting it was the first major media corporation to adopt such a policy. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

The new guidelines are an expansion of initiatives started by the company in 2006, using voluntary recommendations from the federal government. Iger said the continuing epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States spurred his company to shore up its practices.

"We believe everyone has a role to play in helping the generation of at-risk kids make healthier choices and we're determined to be part of the solution," he said. "If everyone does their small part, together we can create huge change without having the government step in to directly regulate or legislate our efforts."

Roughly one-third of Americans are considered overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  About 17 percent of children are obese, a figure that has almost tripled since 1980. Michelle Obama said children see an estimated $1.6 billion in food and beverage advertising, many for products with high calories. She said she'd seen its effects firsthand with her own daughters.

"The minute you walk down the [grocery] aisle, the kids are singing some jingle, or they're pulling on your leg begging you, pleading you for whatever they saw on TV," she said. "And, as a mom, I know how that makes it even harder for us to keep our kids healthy."

In an interview after his remarks, Iger conceded that his company could take a revenue hit as a result of Tuesday's announcement.

"When I think about Disney's bottom line, and we think about managing the company, we're thinking about the long term and not any one quarter or any one year," he said.

Iger would later add, "The more we behave as better citizens of the world, the more they will admire our company and like our products. This is good for the Disney brand and good for our bottom line on a long-term basis, even if it pinches us a bit in the short term."

Advertisers in Disney's television, radio and online properties will have until 2015 to comply with the new guidelines.

Disney says it will also revoke its license from private food distributors that do not comply with the new guidelines. For example: breakfast cereals featuring Disney characters on the box. Meanwhile, fast-food options at theme parks and resorts will be replaced with alternatives such as apples or vegetables.

Even the big boss himself -- Mickey Mouse -- took part. Donning a huge white chef's hat, the man-sized rodent advertised a Swiss breakfast cereal of oats and yogurt. But when asked whether treats such as Mickey Mouse ice cream would remain available for purchase, Mr. Mouse gave a silent but emphatic thumbs up.

Iger was quick to note that ice cream, fries and what he called "celebratory foods" would remain on the menu, but would be a distinct minority and no longer the default choice.

Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says the move will force food distributors to comply for both ethical and profit reasons.

"Companies will want to be associated with Disney characters," she said. "They are going to want to place their ads on Disney channels, and so they are going to need to reformulate their products."

Praising the decision, Wootan said entertainment companies need to "take some responsibility" as well because they are ultimately airing the ads.

Michelle Obama has made promotion of nutrition and exercise a major theme of her tenure as first lady, particularly concerning children. The administration says her "Let's Move" campaign has led 1,500 U.S. schools to adopt healthier menus and fitness programs. Several large food distributors have also partnered with the initiative to cut back on calories in their products or expand their stores into neighborhoods without ready access to healthy foods.

Nor is this her first partnership with Disney. In February, the first lady visited ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World in Florida to host athletic and dance games for children at the theme park, alongside professional athletes and Disney stars.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio