Make-A-Wish® New Jersey collaborated with our friends at Make-A-Wish Alaska/Washington to make Braeden’s special dream come true.
Before being afflicted with aplastic anemia, Braeden lived a very active life. He loved playing sports, his trumpet, and with his friends, and he had dreamed of being a part of the United States Coast Guard since the third grade. His disease forced him to trade in his activities for rest and hospital appointments, but despite his hardships, his dream never wavered.
For Braeden’s wish, he and his family flew out to Kodiak, Alaska where they were welcomed by members of Air Station Kodiak. His time there was chock-full of authentic Coast Guard training activities, including practice drills in a swimming pool and search and rescue demonstrations. He also enjoyed some unorthodox activities, like climbing both into the cockpits and on top of planes just for the experience.
Braeden will never forget manning the co-pilot seat of a helicopter used for rescue missions, which brought him one step closer to his long-awaited future. He gazed out the window to see endless stretches of water, snowcapped mountains, and lush, green valleys of the Alaskan wilderness. “That was my dream,” he said.
However, the day was not over yet. One final surprise was in store for Braeden before his Coast Guard experience ended: a wing-pinning ceremony. He stood proudly as his heroes saluted him and his parents watched with shining eyes, knowing that their son had never felt so special and honored.
“You’re part of the crew,” a Coast Guard officer told Braeden. And he certainly felt like it.