Make-A-Wish holds scavenger hunt to reveal destination
Seven-year-old Treyson Walker ran around Rocky Butte Park during an Army mission scavenger hunt arranged by his Make-A-Wish team on Aug. 10. He was looking for the clues to the wish granted to him.
With family and friends nearby, he was given the sealed clues by a representative of the North Dakota National Guard. He found a suitcase hidden in the rocks, a Lego airplane near the vintage plane and a palm tree near the bandshell. With the clues in hand, he read the award: A trip to Disney World.
All smiles, he went to tell his parents, Brad and Amanda Walker of Dickinson. His brother and sister, Cameron, 2 and Karinna, 4 1/2, were nearby.
"I can't thank Make-A-Wish enough," Amanda said. "I'm one of those people who hate to ask people for help. I'd rather take care of my own business, but I realized sometimes you need help."
Treyson was diagnosed with Becker's muscular dystrophy nearly 8 months ago. It's a rare inherited disorder involving loss in limb control, spasms, temporary paralysis and weakening of leg and pelvic areas.
His brother, Cameron, also tested positive for the inherited disease.
With inevitable progression of Treyson's condition, now was the time to have an adventure of a lifetime.
The family was driven to the airport on Wednesday with a Dan Porter Motors limo ride. They are staying a week at the Give the Kids the World Village, a 70-acre storybook resort that hosts children with life-threatening illnesses. They also received complimentary passes to the surrounding theme parks, including Disney Theme Parks and Sea World.
Treyson's wish was made possible by the Dickinson Noon Lions Club through the Adopt-a-Wish program.
"It's really heart-warming," said Kelly Braun, vice president of the North Dakota Make-A-Wish and member of the Dickinson Noon Lions Club. "It's a great time for them to enjoy during a period of uncertainty."
Braun and his team of volunteers arranged for the mission and to serve lunch afterwards, compliments of area businesses.
It was exhilarating and total excitement," Braun said. "When I left there, it was the highest of highs."
While Braun has helped fulfill several wishes in previous years, this wish hit home.
Braun and Brad Walker became friends while playing on the same dart team. Learning of the diagnosis, Braun started the application process.
The family learned it was granted a wish shortly before the annual Make-A-Wish fundraiser. This year's fundraiser is March 8 at the Dickinson Eagles Club.
"When we discover a wish, the team gets together to plan an enhancement send-off party," Braun said.
Volunteers met several times with Treyson to make sure the wish was something he wanted.
"We each are assigned families to help discover their wish," volunteer Sarah Bengtson said. "We all work together to create the experience. It is a lot of fun."
Treyson told the team he wanted to see the ocean. He also wanted to visit the castle, ride the spinning cups and see killer whales. The desires were a perfect fit for the Florida trip.
The trip is just as much a break for the parents as it is for Treyson.
"I'm emotionally tired," Amanda said. "I'm numb. I have no more to give. I'm done crying and taking it as it comes."
While Amanda is home with the children, Brad has his job as a fracking technician for Nalco Champion.
"I follow her lead -- I'm out working when she sits here and goes through it," he said.
The Disney trip is their first real vacation as a family.
"We were told to set everything aside, take the kids and enjoy it," he said. "It's something to get our minds of what's going on."
Make-A-Wish grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy, as described in its mission statement.
Since its inception in 1985, the North Dakota chapter has granted more than 650 wishes to children across the state at an average of $9,000 per wish. For more information about Make-A-Wish North Dakota, call 701-280-9474 or visit the website at www.northdakota.wish.org.
To follow Treyson's story and progress, visit his CaringBridge site at: http://www.caringbridge.org and click on his name.