Braedan has always had a fascination with nature and enjoys learning about wildlife, as well as playing outdoors with his friends. These interests led him to a wild wish adventure he’ll never forget.
Suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, ten-year-old Braedan has not always had an easy life. His condition forces him to endure frequent doctor’s visits and treatment regimens, but one way he’s able to escape it all is by reading about some of his favorite animals: hippos, buffalos, rhinos and leopards.
When wish-granting volunteers asked Braedan what his one true wish would be, he immediately thought of a place where he could see all of these animals and more: South Africa.
Not long after, Braedan and his family embarked on a week-long vacation to South Africa, where they enjoyed learning from South African natives, tasting local foods and, of course, seeing all of the wildlife!
During their trip, the family of four quickly bonded with one of their many tour guides, Micheal, who was born and raised in South Africa. Micheal showed them around the beautiful South African landmarks, starting with Table Mountain National Park, where Braedan saw wild ostrich and baboons for the first time. The family also visited The Cango Wildlife Ranch, where Braedan observed pygmy hippos and had a close encounter with some furry lemurs. Another exciting stop for the family was The Knysna Elephant Park, where Braedan had the chance to feed elephants! During all of their day trips, Braedan got to interact with the animals he’s admired for so long and was able to truly live in the moment, leaving his worries behind.
For Braedan’s mom, the wish experience was about much more than sightseeing and exploring the wildlife; it was about giving Braedan a break from his medical routine to just enjoy being a kid. During the trip, she said, “Everyone is making such a fuss over him, and it has made him feel so special, which is such an awesome and bittersweet feeling for us.”
Braedan welcomed new experiences throughout his trip with wonder and curiosity. He had a line-up of questions for all of his tour guides and learned many fun facts that he looks forward to sharing! One of the last stops along Braedan’s tour was the Kariega Game Reserve, where his family went on a big safari. Braedan was amazed as he viewed zebras, bush buck, wilderbeast and other wild animals close enough to touch. Braedan’s wish to meet his favorite animals was fulfilled, and the family took home memories that will last a lifetime.
To read more about Braedan’s trip, visit his family’s online travel blog here.