Monday, August 18, 2014

Make-A-Wish fulfilled one Missouri boy’s Montana dream.

Throughout Hayden’s three-year bout with cancer, the Missouri Make-A-Wish chapter made repeated offers to grant Hayden a wish. The family held off (in his mother Katie Schreiman’s words,) “wanting to make sure he was healthy enough they did not have to worry about anything.”

Hayden and his family live near Waverly, Missouri, where his father is a 6th corn and soybeans along with some wheat and hay. Hayden was only 15 months old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Now he is eight years old and has an older sister and a younger brother.

Katie (Hayden's mother) explained to Michael Wright [a reporter for the Big Timber Pioneer Newspaper] that Hayden is “an outside, down-in-the-dirt country boy. He turned down swimming with the dolphins, and said no to a trip to Disneyland. His wish was to visit a working ranch!” The Missouri chapter reached out to Montana’s Make-A-Wish chapter and through MONTANA BUNKHOUSES WORKING RANCH VACATIONS LLC the Schreimans were matched up with the Lower Deer Creek Ranch, run by Remi and Susan Metcalf.

There were many firsts for the whole family starting with the trip itself. The more than 1,300 mile journey was the farthest any of them had ever been from Missouri. When they arrived in Big Timber, it was busy.

• They fished a pond at the Goeddel Ranch, where Hayden caught a 9-pound rainbow trout.
• The Grand Hotel gave the family a dinner.
• Hayden got a helicopter ride from Will Hogan, who flies for Heli-Works, a Helena based company. And Bob Burch let all of them pile into his jet boat.
• Metcalf drove them to Big Timber Canyon, and Natural Bridge, and all the way through Yellowstone National Park where they saw a grizzly bear at a safe distance.

What the kids most enjoyed happened right at the Metcalf Ranch, however. Hayden said his favorite
part of the trip was riding “horseys.” He actually got so he was riding really well, Metcalf said. “It’s like it is in his blood or something,” said his mother Katie. They played in the creek too, and got so familiar with Susan and Remi that they started calling them “grandma” and “uncle.”

 “They’ve treated us like family since we’ve been here,” Hayden’s father Michael said. “We appreciate everything everybody’s done for us.” Hayden’s mother Katie called it “the final chapter of the family’s struggle with cancer—the light at the end of the tunnel.” Looking out at the majestic Crazy Mountains, Katie continued, “This is the blessing of it all. He survived and this is his reward and he is sharing with the family.”

NOTE: This blog is based on excerpts from an article in the Thursday, August 7, 2014, edition of the Big Timber Pioneer. The article written by Michael Wright is entitled Survive and Thrive and it details how Make-A-Wish fulfilled one Missouri boy’s Montana dream.

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