School rallies around Rockford boy with rare illness

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A little boy with a rare illness is getting the trip of a lifetime to the Happiest Place on Earth – Walt Disney World.

Cortland Long, 6, has Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder with no cure. The Make a Wish Foundation made the trip possible for Cortland and his family, but his school wanted to make sure he knew just how much he was loved before he leaves.

Sonya Long, Cortland’s mother, said she is grateful for the love and support that has been shown by classmates and teachers.

“They’ve all worked together to give Cortland the best opportunities that we can, so we’re extremely thrilled that all this is happening for him,” said Long.

Friends and well-wishers at Rockford Elementary School gave Cortland a send-off like no other on Friday. Everyone waved their handcrafted signs and cheered as he was escorted outside to where members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing were waiting to greet him.

Cortland was given a flight suit, a plaque, a model plane and a flag that was flown over Afghanistan last year. All this in addition to being named an honorary member of the 134th Air Refueling Wing, making for a day that he will never forget.

The six-year-old leaves for Disney on Monday, the start of fall break for Rockford schools.

This Saturday, a “Strollathon” is being held in Athens to benefit the Rett Syndrome Foundation. Organizers invite everyone to participate.

Learn more: Athens ‘Strollathon’ to benefit Rett Syndome Foundation

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