A Wish Takes Flight and Lands in Happiness
That’s exactly what 7-year-old Dillon, a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, found out when he made a wish.
With the help of several FedEx pilots and the Mid-South Chapter of Make-A-Wish Foundation, Dillon traveled to Disney World—the “Happiest Place on Earth”— with his grandmother, great-grandmother and cousin.
When we talked to him in July at his Wish Reveal, Dillon was excited about the upcoming journey. “I want to see Mickey Mouse and Spiderman,” said the smiling, front-teeth-missing Dillon “And, I want to see Batman beat up the Joker.”
Granting a Wish
“We wanted to give money to Make-A-Wish in order to help children with severe illnesses,” said Charlotte Gray, FedEx Express New Hire Pilots Flight Course Development Administrator and organizer for the Wish Reveal. “St. Jude is a wonderful place and what better way to help kids and the community. Wishes cost $8,000, and we were thrilled and excited to be able to grant a wish.”
Flying with Mickey
To make the Wish Reveal even more special and to give Dillon a one-of-a-kind experience, Captain Ray Para took him on a “flight” in one of the FedEx flight simulators.
“Dillon knew he was flying somewhere in August, but he didn’t know it was his wish,” said Gray. “His grandmother told him he was coming to FedEx to ‘practice’ flying in an airplane for the first time.”
Captain Para helped Dillon sit in the cockpit of a 767 simulator. At the end of the flight, Captain Para asked Dillon if he knew where he was going, and Dillon said no.
After leaving the simulator, Dillon made his way downstairs to the reception where he was cheered on by more than 200 FedEx employees who were dressed for the occasion. They wore Mickey and Minnie hats. Some even wore Disney costumes while others carried hand-made signs with messages like “Magic Happens,” “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and “Dreams Come True.”
The surprises kept coming. Employees also presented Dillon with swimming trunks, sunglasses, games, backpacks, luggage and more for his trip.
Magical Moments Create Smiles of Joy
“I’ve never seen such an expression of pure joy on Dillon’s face when he came out of the simulator,” said Tiffany O’Connor, FedEx Express Assistant Chief Pilot. “And he walked into a hallway lined with hundreds of FedEx team members.”
Brooke Ehrhart, Vice President of Development at Make-A-Wish Mid-South, agreed.
“Dillon’s wish was absolutely incredible! We can’t thank the FedEx team enough for all you did to ensure this was a day his family will never forget,” Ehrhart said. “The looks on his face were priceless, and that’s because of your generosity!”