Dale, Jr. Grants Natalie’s Wish!

Natalie & Dale Earnhardt, Jr.What a great weekend for one of our wish kids!  12 year old Natalie has long QT Syndrome, a heart condition whereby the heart beats erratically and fast which can be life-threatening.  Natalie has a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted in her chest. Natalie’s one wish was to meet her NASCAR Hero, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. so we arranged for her to go to the races at Atlanta Motor Speedway where she had the weekend of a lifetime!  It was a little rainy and chilly on Friday, but Natalie didn’t even notice!  She was kept warm by the thought of meeting Dale, Jr.!

The day began in the corporate offices of the Speedway where Natalie met her very own team of track ambassadors who were there to ensure that her wish was everything and more than she could possibly Natalie & Richard Petty imagine and boy, did they come through!  Natalie had full access to everything at the track including the garage area where she met several other drivers who were working with their crews to ensure that their cars were ready for the big race on Sunday.  She met Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, and the king himself, Richard Petty. 
  
Later, we went to the media center for the big moment – meeting Dale, Jr.  Natalie was a little nervous at first, but Mr. Earnhardt quickly put her at ease.  He signed some memorabilia for her and she gave him a personalized turkey call just like the one that his father used that was made by Natalie’s grandfather.  By the look on his face, I think Dale was as excited as Natalie was!  They talked for a while and discussed her condition.  Then Dale put his arm around her and gave her a reassuring squeeze; what a dream!  The look on Natalie’s face was priceless.  Her mom later thanked me and tearfully told me, “I haven’t seen a sparkle in Natalie’s eyes like that in so long”.  It’s moments like these that make  everything about this job so worthwhile. 

Natalie & Jimmy JohnsonThe wish wasn’t over yet!  We went to Olive Garden for a celebratory dinner and the next day Natalie and her family went to the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca Cola. The wish culminated on Sunday with tickets to the race where Natalie cheered on her man!  We think number 88 is great!  Thanks, Dale!Special thanks to everyone who made this wish possible:  Mayor & Mrs. James Nix, VFW Ladies Auxiliary #4346, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sheraton Suites Galleria, Olive Garden, McCormick & Schmicks, The Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, Stone Mountain Park, Mike Davis and special thanks to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Madeline (Wish Department Manager)

 

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48,632 kids helped this last fiscal year through our many programs and services.

Our Mission

Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.