News Sartell — 01 May 2014
‘Make a Wish’ Kaylee goes for Bahamas cruise

by Dennis Dalman

news@thenewsleaders.com

Eight-year-old Kaylee Condon of Sartell always wanted to take a cruise on beautiful tropical waters, and this week her wish is coming true.

Condon and her family left May 2 for a Disney cruise in the waters in the Bahamas east of Florida. On the trip are her parents, Nick and Sarah, and her two sisters, her twin Annabelle and Kianna, 9.

The trip was made possible through the Make a Wish Foundation, a program that allows people suffering serious illnesses to enjoy a trip or some other activity they’ve always wanted to do but could not afford. Annabelle Condon, for example, previously got her “wish” when she had a chance to swim with dolphins.

Condon, like her sisters and mother, suffers from an immune-deficiency disease.

“We were told she would never walk,” said her mother. “But she’s in karate now. She’s not a quitter. She’s a little fighter. A very caring girl who loves to explore and figure out how things work. “

People with immune-deficiency disease, if it remains untreated, generally live only until their early to mid-30s. Fortunately, Kaylee, her sisters and mother take antibiotics to boost their immunity and they get replacement therapy via donated blood.

“There’s no cure, yet,” Sarah said. “But we are a very hopeful family.”

Two weeks ago, at Great River Bowl in Sartell, family and friends gathered for a pizza party and bowling session in honor of Kaylee, a send-off party for her trip to the Bahamas. The party was hosted by Judy Loudon and Mary Steffes, both of Sartell, who are volunteers for the Make a Wish Foundation.

Steffes became involved in the early 1990s with Make a Wish because one of her friend’s sons, Michael Wenzel of Avon, had a wish granted by the organization before he died tragically of a brain tumor at age 13.

Steffes gathers names of Make a Wish candidates, then contacts their families and gets relevant information about what the recipients would like for their wish. The wishes can range from meeting an athlete or movie star to taking trips virtually anywhere – Hollywood, Paris, DisneyWorld. The names are referred to Make a Wish via Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.

Volunteers like Steffes and Loudon then host a send-off party for recipients and help in any way to arrange the wish and to keep lines of communication open between wish grantees, their families and the organization.

Both Loudon and Steffes said it is the most rewarding kind of work imaginable.

For more about Make a Wish, including how to donate or volunteer, visit Minnesota.wish.org.

contributed photo Kaylee Condon (middle), who suffers from an immune-deficiency disease, just left with her family for a Disney cruise in the Bahamas. The trip was made possible by the Make a Wish Foundation, two of whose members are Judy Loudon (left) and Mary Steffes (right). Condon, Steffes and Loudon are all Sartell residents.

contributed photo
Kaylee Condon (middle), who suffers from an immune-deficiency disease, just left with her family for a Disney cruise in the Bahamas. The trip was made possible by the Make a Wish Foundation, two of whose members are Judy Loudon (left) and Mary Steffes (right). Condon, Steffes and Loudon are all Sartell residents.

Loudon are all Sartell residents. contributed photo
Kaylee Condon prepares to bowl at a party given in her honor at Great River Bowl in Sartell.

Loudon are all Sartell residents. contributed photo
Kaylee Condon prepares to bowl at a party given in her honor at Great River Bowl in Sartell.

Loudon are all Sartell residents. contributed photo
Kaylee Condon prepares to bowl at a party given in her honor at Great River Bowl in Sartell.

Loudon are all Sartell residents. contributed photo
Kaylee Condon prepares to bowl at a party given in her honor at Great River Bowl in Sartell.

 

 

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About Author

Dennis Dalman
Dennis Dalman

editor@thenewsleaders.com Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.

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