PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2020): Owen is a Florida boy who has never experienced snow or the beauty of nature’s awe-inspiring mountains. His dreams for the holiday season suddenly became merry and bright. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses, flew Owen and his mom to Pigeon Forge to explore the Smoky Mountains’ winter wonderland.
It was magical experiencing snow for the first time while tubing at Ober Gatlinburg. They also ventured to The Island in Pigeon Forge, an entertainment destination with an amusement park and shopping area – Owen’s favorite part was trying the rope obstacle course. WonderWorks was another fun adventure exploring all the unique exhibits. Their wonderment continued at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum where he was fascinated by the mirror maze, and the wide assortment of unique sea creatures at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
During the wish, Owen and his mom stayed at the luxurious RiverStone Resort & Spa, and dined at the Hard Rock café and Mel’s Diner whose decadent banana splits beckoned him back for a second visit.
Owen struggles with stresses from his autoimmune condition, and his wish trip gave him and his mom time to just enjoy the splendor of the holidays. “Kids Wish Network surpassed any expectations that we had,” said his mom Yannia. “Everything was just like a dream.”
“It was wonderful giving Owen a wish where he got to experience so many firsts, especially playing in the snow,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for making Owen’s dreams become a reality:
- RiverStone Resort & Spa
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- The Island at Pigeon Forge
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Mel’s Diner