At only seven years old, Owen has spent a lot of time seeing doctor after doctor. From being in the NICU to struggling to walk until he was three years old, Owen has had to put up a fight against the neurological disorder he was diagnosed with. When Owen’s family stumbled across Make-A-Wish, his mom was hopeful that something good was in store for Owen. “He has had to fight a little harder than every other kid since the moment he was born,” wish mom Raven said.
It was a moment of great excitement and hope when Owen’s family found out he would qualify for a wish. When Owen’s wish granters were helping him to determine what his one true wish was, they asked him about his favorite things. Most of his answers kept coming back to one thing: Jurassic World. His favorite movie? Jurassic World. His favorite music? Jurassic World music. It was clear that Owen’s wish would be to go to Jurassic Park and meet a velociraptor.
Before Owen’s wish trip, his parents described him as reserved. After his wish trip is a different story: “My son was changed on his wish trip. He really was,” Raven shared.
Excited to leave the snow and go somewhere warm, Owen and his family left for Florida on their wish trip. They had no idea what was ahead of them. All of Owen’s dinosaur dreams were going to come true on his wish trip. From meeting a velociraptor to seeing a raptor hatching, Owen couldn’t get enough of all the excitement happening around him. Owen even received a birth certificate for the raptor that hatched and was told that he could come back to visit the raptor any time.
Owen’s mom shared that Owen was very excited for the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure ride, but his sister Kierra was a bit nervous with all the dinosaurs on the loose. “Owen, however, with his new sense of confidence, simply raised his skinny little arm in the air and told all of us that he was protecting us… Owen found himself on this trip. He found his inner strength that, for whatever reason, was always pushed down inside himself. He found his bravery.”
Aside from the dinosaurs, Owen also loved sitting in the pilot’s chair on the plane and swimming at Give Kids the World Village. He even got to celebrate his birthday while he was on his trip! Mickey Mouse made a visit at the village to say hello, and a Disney princess gave Owen a birthday kiss after he asked her for her hand to kiss it.
Give Kids the World Village was especially transforming for Owen and his family. “This place was the once place on this earth that my children could be who they were and not made to feel like anything less, because they were in company of kids just like them. It was empowering to my son.”
Owen’s wish trip was more than just a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a velociraptor. It gave Owen renewed strength, as well as gave his whole family a chance to just breathe and shift their focus away from doctor appointments. “I didn’t know just how impactful it would be for such a young child. I didn’t know how impactful it would be for me as a parent.”
Owen’s wish was made possible by Adopt-A-Wish® partner Independent Insurance Agents of Rapid City.