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I wish to go to Atlantis

  • Dolphin Cay

  • Raena & family at the Atlantis Resort

  • Enjoying a fresh coconut

  • Dolphin Cay

  • Scuba diving

  • Raena & family at Dolphin Cay

  • Beach time

  • Dolphin Cay

  • Raena & family at one of the many aquariums

  • Raena enjoying her view from their hotel room.

  • Raena having fun with her new friend at Dolphin Cay

  • Raena and family with Faini Jewelry Designs Studio in Sioux Falls who are part of her Adopt-A-Wish® partner Jewelers for Children.

“ Through this wish she was able to orchestrate her dream world. ”


- Wish Mom Brooke

Adopted By: Jewelers for Children

Raena, 13, of Sioux Falls wished to go Atlantis in the Bahamas. Her wish came true in January when she traveled to Nassau.

She chose this wish because she wanted to be with her whole family and have the chance to go swimming with the dolphins.

Raena faces Freidreich’s Ataxia (FA), a neuromuscular disease that mainly affects the nervous system and the heart. FA affects about one in 50,000 people worldwide, making it the most common in a group of related disorders called hereditary ataxias.

As part of her wish, she wanted her entire blended family to go along. This included her mom, Brooke and step-dad, Steve, and dad, Dan and step-mom, Jennifer. Along with her parents were her three brothers and sister, including Cade (12), Blake (5), Jack (1), Zoe (2).

Her mom Brooke had this to say:

“For me, this wish was all about Raena creating exactly what she wanted. She has had no control over her diagnosis and has no control over what will happen to her. Through this wish she was able to orchestrate her dream world. For Raena, this meant having both parents and all of her siblings together. This never would have happened if not for Make-A-Wish®.

She has always imagined all of her siblings from both households playing together and enjoying each other as much as she enjoys all of them. While on vacation in Atlantis this is exactly what happened. We all played together, we ate together, and we had tons of fun. She delighted in sharing this once in a lifetime memory with all of us. I think that some of her favorite moments were when we all met a dolphin, Harper, at Dolphin Cay. The magic of this experience was surreal. She will always have that memory of all of her family experiencing this together.

There was also a time on the beach when she was getting her hair braided by a local woman in a tent, (something that was on her list of things to do on the trip). Braiding her hair took an hour and during that time her baby sister and baby brother form each household fell asleep and napped at her feet together while she was getting to know some local people, getting her hair braided. She had a great time exploring Atlantis. Parked at the marina were many Yachts. She'd never seen a yacht before and was blown away. Ever since the trip she is plotting to become a best-selling author and spending lots of time on her very own yacht, sort of like a happy version of Hemmingway. Spending a week together in Atlantis has had lasting effects on our blended family. We have all spent time together in a relaxed environment. We all communicate better and know each other better. Her siblings look forward to seeing each other at all of her activities. The impact of this experience will be ongoing and powerful. We are so very grateful to Make-A-Wish.”

Raena’s wish was made possible by Adopt-A-Wish® Partner Jewelers for Children and local store, Faini Jewelry Designs Studio in Sioux Falls, and an anonymous donor.

The impact of this experience will be ongoing and powerful. We are so very grateful to Make-A-Wish. ”

— Wish Mom Brooke

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Wishes in FlightAirline MilesYou hold the ticket to a child's wish℠  More than 65 percent of the wishes granted in South Dakota require air travel.  Donate your unused frequent flier miles from Delta, United or American Airlines.  Once the miles are donated they never expire and will make a child's wish come true!

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1 Comment

Kelly Iversen

I am so happy Raena was able to have this experience. And I love that she wanted her entire blended family to be with her. This is powerful and I am so happy for you all.

March 19, 2014 - 11:54 AM

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Make-A-Wish® South Dakota
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(605) 335-8000
Toll Free (800) 640-9198
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(605) 791-4500
Toll Free (800) 640-9198