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Sam finds joy in the City of Lights

“ The trip provided him with a sense of joy and excitement that I haven’t seen in years. ”


- Wish mom Courtney

From the second a child is referred for a wish to the wonderful moment a child’s wish is granted, careful thought, planning, and individualization go into every aspect of the wish-granting process. 15-year-old Sam’s wish was no different.

During the first wish-granting meeting, Sam’s wish granters were able to learn about all of Sam’s interests and favorite things; to name a few, he enjoys collecting retro video games, riding his bike, and technology. However, for his wish, Sam wanted to combine a few more of his interests—amusement parks, traveling, and history—all into one epic wish trip! After a brainstorm session and lots of research, a decision was made. Sam, who is fighting a kidney disease, wished to go to Paris, where he could travel with his family, learn all about Paris’s history, and even go on amusement park rides at Disneyland Paris.

When a wish kid determines what their one true wish would be, there is a little bit of a waiting game while arrangements and plans are made for the wish. Hotels and flights must be booked, an itinerary must be created, and many phone calls must be made. Finally, at this year’s Walk for Wishes event in Rapid City, it was announced in front of all in attendance that Sam’s wish to go to Paris would be coming true in just two short months!

Sam and his family checked off many bucket list items in the City of Lights. The family went on a bus tour of all the landmarks, visited Versailles, saw the catacombs, and even ate dinner on a river boat. Sam’s mom, Courtney, shared a few of Sam’s favorite moments from the trip: “Some of the highlights were getting to be there for Independence Day and watching fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.” The family also happened to be in France when France won the World Cup for the first time in twenty years. “It was very exciting! It was complete chaos—in a good way,” Courtney said.

Sam, who is described as easy-going, kind, and loving by those who know him, gained a love for travel on his trip to Paris. “Since we’ve been back, he has been talking about all the other places that he would like to go see,” Courtney said. Wishes often impact wish kids and their families in unexpected ways as well, such as providing renewed energy or a sense of normalcy. For Sam? “The trip provided him with a sense of joy and excitement that I haven’t seen in years,” Courtney said. “Having a child with a chronic life-threatening disease sort of feels like you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop as the expression goes. It was so nice getting to have an opportunity to all be together and not think about it.”

Sam’s mom shared that, within the next year, Sam will need a kidney transplant. He and his family appreciated the time away, where they didn’t have to think about that upcoming surgery for the time being. “It was so wonderful getting to step away from it all for a while and just enjoy each other. I was so overwhelmed with the generosity of Make-A-Wish,” Courtney explained.

His wish is made possible thanks to Adopt-A-Wish® partners Assurant and First Interstate Bank.



Having a child with a chronic life-threatening disease sort of feels like you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop as the expression goes. It was so nice getting to have an opportunity to all be together and not think about it. ”

— Wish Mom Courtney

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Make-A-Wish® South Dakota
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Toll Free (800) 640-9198
Make-A-Wish® South Dakota, Black Hills Office
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Toll Free (800) 640-9198