It has been less than six months since Dakota began his battle with a malignant tumor in his thyroid gland, but his ever vibrant smile shows that his memories of hospital trips have been replaced by the exciting process of his wish come true.
Highlighting the spirit of community, Make-A-Wish® New Jersey granted Dakota’s wish to have a pool with the help of two local pool companies and the Ramtown Fire Company, of Howell, New Jersey.
“I really love to swim! And I really, really love this pool!” gushed Dakota as he happily walked the pool’s perimeter with two Make-A-Wish staff members on a hot July evening.
“That smile hasn’t left Dakota’s face since installation began,” said Dakota’s mom, Vanessa.
The granting of Dakota’s wish was truly a group effort. “Granting children’s wishes is a rallying point for people around the community,” said Tom Weatherall, president and chief executive officer of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “A wish experience has a magical way of unifying people around the common cause of bringing hope, strength, and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. That is certainly highlighted in this instance, as we saw members of the community come together to help make Dakota’s wish come true.”
Three days prior, contractors began installing the pool, which was fully funded through in-kind donations from Cayman Pools & Spa, of Allentown, and Central Jersey Pools, in Freehold.
“It was so cool to see the pool being built, and they let me help,” Dakota beamed. “Now all it needs is the water!”
Despite the pool’s missing water, Dakota said he had to suit up because he was too excited to wait. Then, as if on cue, two fire trucks from the Ramtown Fire Company pulled in front of Dakota’s home.
“No way! They’re here to fill my pool?” asked Dakota, whose gaping grin indicated his ecstatic surprise at seeing the firefighters. After getting his own firefighter hat, Dakota took a tour of the fire truck, rode in the Chief’s truck, and, of course, helped the firefighters add water to his pool.
It took about 30 minutes to fill, but less than 30 seconds for Dakota to jump in!
“Look at him swim! And do you see that smile on his face?” asked Vanessa. “We will never forget Dakota’s wish being granted and everyone who helped.”
Dakota and his family plan to invite all his friends and family over to enjoy the pool during a barbeque.
“A cancer free barbeque,” clarified Dakota.
The video below shows even more story details of this wish.