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Milestone Wish Takes Flight

Southwest Airlines helped a Mohonasen High School student’s wish truly take flight.

Before taking off for Orlando, Florida, and Disney World in July, 15-year-old Ben got the full tour of Southwest’s operation. Pilots showed him around the cockpit and explained the controls, while the ground crew even let him take a turn at guiding an aircraft to its gate from the tarmac.

Southwest Airlines helped a Mohonasen High School student’s wish truly take flight.

Before taking off for Orlando, Florida, and Disney World in July, 15-year-old Ben got the full tour of Southwest’s operation. Pilots showed him around the cockpit and explained the controls, while the ground crew even let him take a turn at guiding an aircraft to its gate from the tarmac.

“[Southwest] is a really good company,” said Benjamin, who has a life-threatening form of epilepsy

The wish, facilitated by Wish Granters Linda and Michael Doyle, was the milestone 1,800th for Make-A-Wish Northeast New York since the establishment of the chapter in 1987.

According to Ben’s mother, Carrie, the trip changed her son’s outlook. The entire time Ben was on his wish, he was laughing, smiling and laid back.

“We have a lot of medical issues and he wasn't thinking about them,” Carrie said. “He wasn't worried all the time. It was just a care-free experience, not worrying about anything except the next place we were going to have fun.”

Make-A-Wish Northeast New York Chief Executive Officer William Trigg, III, noted about 80 percent of the chapter’s wish kids reach adulthood.

“We've known about the medical impact of a wish and now we have proof to be able to show that’s the case,” Trigg said. “We now have empirical evidence to prove the medical benefits. The wish is really part of the medicine that makes these kids get better.”

Disney – his actual wish – lived up to his hopes.

“We went to every park,” Ben said, “Sea World, Universal, Hollywood Studios. It was so much fun.”

The 15-year-old also sees himself going to flight school one day. He hopes to fly for Southwest.


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