Almost everyone has heard of Make-A-Wish, the organization that grants life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. Known for creating unforgettable wish experiences for children and families, the world of wishes changes with vision of every child. Where most children wish for a trip to Disney World or a chance to meet their favorite celebrity, things changed when Make-A-Wish Georgia first met seven-year-old, Zayden.
With an imagination as wide as outer space, Zayden wished to blast off to Saturn in a red rocket ship. After facing four open-heart surgeries and nearly forty other procedures to keep him alive, he wanted nothing more than to see the stars, and the moon, and a friendly alien named BeeBo. Although this wish seemed virtually impossible, Make-A-Wish Georgia set out to make Zayden’s Mission a reality.
With the help of TRICK 3D, a virtually reality design studio located in Atlanta, Zayden’s vision was brought to life. On May 11, Commander Zayden blasted off to his Saturn experience out of Dobbins Air Reserve Base and as he envisioned, he saw the stars, and the moon, and his friend, the alien BeeBo. Over 100 community supporters joined to the celebration in welcoming him back from his voyage.
To see more about Zayden’s story and his amazing VR trip to Saturn, click here.
We met Zayden at our Summer of Wishes Rally Day at our Augusta, GA Panera Bread location in early July. Zayden was more than happy to help us promote our Summer of Wishes partnership with Make-A-Wish, and we were so happy to have him there to share his story.
Beginning on July 1, we began selling our specialty flip flop cookies at 25 locations across South Carolina and Georgia with proceeds benefitting Make-A-Wish to grant wishes to local kids like Zayden.
The Summer of Wishes partnership continues through July 31 and for each flip flop cookie sold during this time, Panera will donate $1. Our cafes are also accepting donations at the register, and donators will receive a blue paper star to write their name on and display in the café.
Wishes are an essential part of the healing process that provide children hope for the future, strength to fight health battles, and joy to celebrate physical and emotional victories. It certainly helped Zayden and his family move beyond their struggles. Make-A-Wish is entirely funded by donations from special events and campaigns, like our Summer of Wishes campaign, individual donors and corporate sponsors.
The goal of the Summer of Wishes campaign is to raise around $15,000, which is enough to grant wishes for two local kids. After watching Zayden’s wish come true, we know for sure, there is no wish too big or too far away to reach.