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Smiles in San Diego

Kylen showing his Pittsburgh pride while visiting the animals at the San Diego Zoo

“ Sometimes kids like Kylen just need a momentary escape from reality that will allow them to forget about their issues at home and focus on the joy of being of a kid. ”

Kylen Experiences LEOGLAND®, San Diego Zoo and the Beach

During a snowy and cold January, wish kid Kylen had his sights set on sunny San Diego, CA. Five-year-old Kylen, who is diagnosed with epilepsy, has had to face many struggles in his short life. Sometimes continuous medical attention and stress can weigh down on him. But for this lucky wish kid, Make-A-Wish® gave him the chance to leave the winter weather and worry behind with a trip to San Diego to visit LEGOLAND®, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo. Make-A-Wish could not wait to make Kylen’s wish come true.

Wearing his Steelers sweatshirt and Make-A-Wish hat, Kylen boarded the plane for San Diego. Kylen got a special treat when he was able to visit the cockpit, and grinned from ear to ear when he sat with the pilot amongst the buttons and controls. This special moment was only the first of many on his vacation that allowed Kylen to forget about his health and enjoy his time being a wish kid for a week.

Once they arrived in San Diego, Kylen and his family did not waste a minute. During their busy vacation, they went to the beach, rode a boat, explored the boardwalk, played in the crashing waves and saw sea lions and seals in their natural habitat. One of Kylen’s favorite experiences was meeting a penguin up-close at SeaWorld, where he participated in the Penguin Encounter and was actually able to pet a penguin. Kylen was in awe as he stroked the penguin’s smooth feathers and made a new friend.

Kylen truly experienced his greatest wish when he visited LEGOLAND, the theme park where everything is made of the kid-friendly blocks. Kylen wanted to visit LEGOLAND because he likes building things out of LEGOS®, and could not believe his eyes. He pretended he was a police officer on duty when he drove a police car made of legos and flashed his biggest smile to anyone who drove past.

While Kylen’s vacation may have only lasted a few days, the experience he gained will last for much longer. Sometimes kids like Kylen just need a momentary escape from reality that will allow them to forget about their issues at home and focus on the joy of being of a kid. This is exactly what Kylen received, as can be seen by a constant grin in all his pictures from his trip. Kylen and his family are so grateful for their experience and his mother wrote, “Kylen loved every second of it!”

  • Kylen gets the special treatment as he tours the cockpit of the plane

  • Kylen and his family at the beach

  • Kylen zooms ahead in a LEGO police car

  • Kylen looks like he is ready to jump for joy at LEGOLAND

  • Kylen and the family at the San Diego Zoo

  • Kylen has a cool penguin encounter

Kylen loved every second of it! ”

— Kylen's mom

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