Space is said to be the final frontier. But how feasible is actually exploring this vast expanse? Well, for one brave 4-year-old, it was a completely attainable dream, thanks to the generosity of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Neil Armstrong famously said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” on July 20, 1969 as he planted the American flag on the moon.
Almost fifty years later, on Feb. 5, 2018, Dwayne Franke took a giant leap of his own, and met Spiderman on the moon.
Dwayne has suffered from a rare form of epilepsy his whole life. His condition is resistant to medication, and so he experiences seizures almost daily.
— Parent-Posts (@prntpsts) February 7, 2018
In the last year alone, Dwayne has visited the hospital 12 times. But this little boy has a dream that keeps him hopeful. That dream? To walk on the moon.
Rebecca Franke, Dwayne’s mother, said, “They were trying to put in a drip and, between seizures and through all the hurt, he was trying to tell the nurses about going to the moon. It is something that is distracting him from what he’s going through at the moment.”
About a year ago, Rebecca began helping her son prepare for his intergalactic adventure. They kept a moon-shaped light by his bed, and designed the flag he would plant on the surface of the moon. He also received letters from an astronaut throughout the year.
Then on the evening of Feb. 5, it was time for Dwayne to take flight. Tons of volunteers from Qantas at Adelaide Airport in South Australia volunteered hours of their time to make his adventure possible.
Paul Newman, Qantas Manager, reported, “It’s been heart-warming to see Qantas employees from all over volunteer their time to make Dwayne’s wish come true. It’s really been all hands on deck to make this a reality.”
Dwayne was given a special ticket at the airport and even met Darth Vader and storm troopers, who happen to be his favorite.
Then he entered the cockpit in a specially designed QantasLink Q300 flight craft, and it was time to blast off.
They touched down at the lunar landscape, which was outfitted in tons of special effects. Spiderman and some local aliens stopped by to say hello and cheer him on as Dwayne planted his flag in the rocks and sand.
Much too soon it was time to say goodbye to Spiderman and return to Earth. Thankfully, there was a huge party waiting for Dwayne and his astronaut crew. Moon-shaped cake and welcome home hugs were had and shared by all who attended.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is instrumental in thousands of children’s lives who battle chronic illness every day.
Make-A-Wish chief executive, Sally Bateman, humbly said, “Our wishes are about taking critically-ill children like Dwayne on a journey that creates a long-lasting impact and gives strength and hope.”
Dwayne and his family will remember his trip to space for years to come. As he continues to withstand the challenges his illness inflicts, he will carry the hope every explorer has each and every day.
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