WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (June 24, 2015): There is far more to the Mall of America than just shopping, a fact 14-year-old Raegan Drick from Warner Robins, GA, recently found out. Raegan had been dreaming of visiting the famous mall for years, and her wish recently came true thanks to children’s charity Kids Wish Network.
One of the charity’s programs grants wishes to children ages 3-18 who suffer from life-threatening illnesses, something Raegan knows a lot about.
“A wish experience has a remarkable way of providing hope to children facing life-threatening illnesses,” says Kids Wish Network Executive Director Anna Lanzatella. “For kids like Raegan, it can renew their belief that anything is possible and give them the strength to continue fighting.”
And hope is what Raegan desperately needs; she has been bravely fighting two illnesses her entire life.
In 2004, Raegan was diagnosed with dermatomyositis and lipodystrophy, two rare life-threatening illnesses. Dermatomyositis is an uncommon inflammatory disease marked by muscle weakness that causes extreme pain. Lipodystrophy is the progressive and permanent loss of fat cells. Raegan was 4 years old when initially diagnosed and she quickly started treatment.
Raegan requires multiple daily medications and three-day monthly infusion treatments to help alleviate her extreme muscle pain. Doctors also inserted a surgical port to spare Raegan’s veins from the damage of constant treatment. But for her lipodystrophy, there is currently no effective treatment to stop its progression, putting Raegan at a high risk for developing severe cardiac and metabolic issues.
Yet despite all the struggles she faces, Raegan does her best to act like an average teen. She loves hanging out with her friends, watching TV shows, shopping, and listening to pop music. One of Raegan’s biggest dreams was to visit the famous Mall of America, a wish that Kids Wish Network eagerly granted.
The charity sent Raegan and her family on an ultimate experience to the Mall of America complete with luxury accommodations, fun-filled dinners, a small shopping spree, and lots of activities.
Raegan’s favorite thing was visiting the CSI Experience, as she loves criminal science, and she enjoyed the life-like flight simulator. She was even surprised with a celebrity meet-and-greet at dinner at the Hard Rock Café. Nathan Sykes, formerly of the band The Wanted, took extra time to meet with Raegan, pose for photos and sign autographs.
“Raegan had a great time,” said her mom, Dany Drick. “It’s been amazing. Thank you so very much to Kids Wish Network and all the people who sponsored Raegan and made her wish memorable. We can’t thank you enough.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the many sponsors that helped add excitement to Raegan’s dream come true: Crowne Plaza MSP Airport, Mall of America, SEALife Minnesota, Merlin’s Magic Wand, CSI Experience, A.C.E.S. Flight Simulator, Nickelodeon Universe, Star Trek the Experience, Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, Amazing Mirror Maze, Hard Rock Café, Cadillac Ranch, Old Navy, Outback Steakhouse, Barnes & Noble, LEGO Store, Nike Store, Professor Bellow’s Old Time Photos, and Yankee Candle.
Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org to learn more and find out how you can help makes dreams come true and sponsor a wish for a deserving child.