WYOMING, Mich. – An 8-year-old girl suffering from a life-threatening illness had her only wish to swim with dolphins granted through national children’s charity Kids Wish Network.
By the time she was 6-months-old, Paige’s doctors told her parents that she had cystic fibrosis, a devastating disease that causes mucus buildup to clog various organs including the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines. This condition often leads to life-threatening lung infections and also interferes with food absorption. She has endured a surgery to remove her gallbladder and is in and out of the hospital frequently. Paige must suffer through daily nebulizer and compression treatments as well as having to take digestive enzymes when she eats.
Paige is also the youngest of three sisters, all of whom suffer from this illness.
Their grandmother was the one to refer Paige and her older sisters to national charity Kids Wish Network, whose goal is to grant wishes to children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses.
Paige and her sisters, Mikayla and Katelynn, were all given the chance to wish for anything they wanted; Katelynn chose a trip to New York, Mikayla wanted a shopping spree and little Paige wanted only to swim with dolphins.
Once her older sisters’ wishes were granted, it was time for Paige and her family to head to Florida so that Paige could get in the water with her favorite friendly sea mammals. Once in the Sunshine State, the family set out to follow a well-planned itinerary provided by Paige’s Kids Wish Network wish coordinator that included dinners every evening and a full schedule of fun activities to enjoy every day.
During their first full day in Florida, Paige and her mother Kim were escorted into the water at Dolphin Cove in Key Largo where they were greeted by four beautiful dolphins: Samantha, Kimbet, Alfonso and his son, Leo, who was born the same year that Paige was. Hearing this, Paige insisted that she had to swim with the young dolphin because they were the same age, and Paige loved every second of her aquatic adventure with Leo, especially being pulled around in the water and kissing the dolphins on their noses.
“It was wonderful,” said Kim. “It was just what she wanted.”
As an added surprise, Paige’s wish trip was scheduled to coincide with her eighth birthday, which was celebrated in high style at The Galley Restaurant following her dolphin swim. Treated like a birthday princess, Paige was driven to the nearby restaurant in a decorated golf cart and presented with decorations galore a beautiful Barbie cake with a real Barbie inside!
According to Kim, Paige was ecstatic: “Her eyes just lit right up. She felt like a princess!”
Paige and her family were also treated to a glass bottom boat ride, where they viewed all sorts of sea life in its natural habitats.
For Paige, it was the perfect wish.
“It was more than I could have ever imagined for her,” said Kim. “Even now, she still can’t stop talking about it!”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for making Paige’s wish such a special experience: The Ocean Reef Club, The Detroit Metropolitan Airport Marriott, Dolphin Cove, Alamo Car Rental, Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat, The Galley Restaurant, The Key Largo Conch House, The Ernest Hemingway House & Museum and The Pilot House Marina Restaurant.