MINOT, N.D. – For 4-year-old Minot native Kailen Moe, cerebral palsy with a severe developmental delay has meant that he’s experienced more in his young life than many will ever need to. Yet, a new exciting experience will be revealed to him by his wish granters from Make-A-Wish North Dakota this week. On Thursday, December 6, Kailen will learn that his wish to visit the San Diego Zoo will be coming true. Wish granters Dawn Roness and Heather Cymbaluk, along with Kailen’s family and friends, will join him at the Roosevelt Zoo in Minot to enjoy the animals and share in the big news.
At the San Diego Zoo, Kailen will be treated as a VIP with a behind-the-scenes tour to get up close and personal with the animals. This special tour is not available to the general public. The San Diego Zoo houses over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species, including endangered Giant Pandas. In addition to the zoo, Kailen and his family will also make stops at SeaWorld and Birch Aquarium. SeaWorld houses an array of marine mammals including beluga whales, walruses, dolphins, pilot whales, Commerson’s dolphins, seals, sea lions, polar bears, penguins, sea otters, and killer whales.
Kailen’s journey to discover his wish began when his mom, Emily, referred him to Make-A-Wish North Dakota. The local chapter then worked with his treating physician, Dr. Kathryn Obergon of Trinity Health, to confirm his diagnosis. Upon eligibility determination, Make-A-Wish assigned a wish granting team to meet with Kailen and discover his one true wish.
A common misconception is that Make-A-Wish only grants wishes to terminally-ill children, which is not the case. Eligibility criteria expanded many years ago to allow doctors to use a wish as part of the child’s medical treatment and healing process. A variety of medical conditions that may place the child’s life in jeopardy can qualify a child to receive a wish. Children can be referred by medical professionals, close family members, a parent/legal guardian or by the child her/himself. To learn more about the wish referral process, visit northdakota.wish.org/refer-a-child.
Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Since its inception in 1985, Make-A-Wish North Dakota has granted over 880 wishes to children across the state, including 38 wishes last fiscal year.