CHERRY VALLEY, New York – A little boy with a life-threatening illness had his wish to meet his hero, survival specialist Bear Grylls, granted through Kids Wish Network.
Ever since the show began, 10-year-old Cody has been a loyal fan of Discovery Channel’s “Man vs. Wild” hosted by adventurer Bear Grylls. For Cody, the daredevil host is quite a hero and the little boy also sees a little bit of Bear within himself: he views Bear as a survivor, just as he views himself.
You see, when he was only a day old, Cody was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease. This is a condition in which there are no nerve cells in certain organs. In his short ten years, Cody has undergone over 70 surgeries to correct and treat his ailment. He has had most of his large intestine removed and must have constant IV fluids. For the past two years, Cody has been fed via IV, but is now trying to adjust to eating food by mouth. Later this year, he must endure yet another surgery on his intestine and he was recently hospitalized and had to endure two blood transfusions.
Cody’s grandmother was the person who referred Cody to national children’s charity Kids Wish Network for a wish. After sending in the required paperwork, it wasn’t long before Cody’s mother, Lorel, was talking to Wish Coordinator Jill about her son. When Cody got on the phone with the Wish Coordinator, she asked what his wish would be and he replied without any hesitation that he wanted to meet his hero, Bear Grylls.
Soon, Jill was in contact with Discovery Channel, who helped organize the meeting between Cody and the host of their show “Man vs. Wild.” In addition to the meet and greet with Bear Grylls, Jill arranged for accommodations, meals and even a trip to the La Brea Tar Pits for Cody and his family to enjoy on his wish trip.
When it came down to meeting his hero, as soon as Bear Grylls walked into the room, Cody and he struck up a conversation. According to Cody’s mom, Lorel, they didn’t stop talking until it was time for Bear to go.
“Bear was so down to Earth and he definitely inspired Cody,” said Lorel. “I haven’t seen him [Cody] smile like that in a long time.”
In addition to wanting to talk to Bear, Cody also had a few things that he wanted to give the adventurer including a NY hat, some homemade cookies and a throwing star that he carved for his hero out of sticks and put together himself. In return, Bear brought a personalized book that he wanted to give to Cody.
“Cody was so impressed that Bear gave him a book,” said Lorel. “It really made his day.”
Lorel brought with her a scrapbook of pictures of her son to show Bear Grylls that included pictures of young Cody dressed up like his hero. Bear was so taken by the scrapbook that he asked if he could keep it and Cody happily acquiesced.
Bear, who is also a father and Chief Scout for the UK Scout Association, was so impressed with his young fan that he told Cody when it came time for him to retire, he would happily turn the show over to him to continue with.
“It was wonderful,” said Lorel. “This definitely made Cody happy.”
After meeting with Bear Grylls, Cody had a blast visiting the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. There, his favorite exhibits were the ones with models of saber-toothed tigers, especially a moving model that featured a saber-toothed tiger attacking its prey.
Now that he’s home in New York, Cody has pasted the pictures from his wish all over the living room. According to Cody, the pictures will not be displaced by holiday decorations either.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Cody’s wish extra special: Bear Grylls, Discovery Channel, U.S. Airways, Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, ALS Limo, The Grill on Hollywood, Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, Callendar’s Grill, Universal Studios and Kung Pao Kitty.