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Make-A-Wish grants young girl's wish for Elitch Gardens season pass during surprise reveal

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Posted at 5:26 PM, May 29, 2024

DENVER — What started as a recognition of school fundraisers became a surprise wish reveal at Elitch Gardens on Wednesday.

High school students and Make-A-Wish families gathered at the amusement park early in the day for a ceremony to honor the top fundraising school in Colorado over the past year.

“Mountain Vista High School raised an incredible $219,000, which is enough to grant 29 wishes for kids in Colorado,” said Sarah Grosh of Make-A-Wish Colorado.

As part of a yearly tradition, Elitch Gardens donated several thousand tickets to Mountain Vista HS students, as well as associated elementary and middle schools, as a way of saying ‘thank you.’ But before students took to the rides for a day of fun, there was one more big surprise.

“A surprise wish reveal for wish kid Aubrie, whose wish is to have season passes to Elitch Gardens,” Grosh said.

Aubrie has a blood condition and, as a result, hasn’t been able to go out in public for a while.

“I’ve been stuck in quarantine at the hospital or at my house for four years because of two years in COVID and then two years because I have severe aplastic anemia and I had to get a bone marrow transplant,” she explained.

So to cap off the ceremony at Elitch’s, Make-A-Wish Colorado surprised her with a season pass for her family for the next five years.

“I started to cry, but happy tears,” Aubrie said.

“Just thankful to be at this point,” Aubrie’s mom, Carissa, said. “Because we didn't know we would even get this far.”

As the celebration went on, there was another surprise waiting for Aubrie. Her doctor from Children’s Hospital was in attendance, and once she noticed him, she ran over for a big hug.

“To see her among the community, just embracing her and her embracing them, it’s amazing,” Dr. Taizo Nakano said.

While Make-A-Wish talks a lot about the power of a wish, Dr. Nakano said he sees the benefits firsthand.

“They're not just memories and they're just not just experiences. These (wishes) actually get kids through their therapy,” he said.

As for Aubrie, she said she won’t be able to be bored moving forward — she’ll just ask her mom to head to Elitch’s to make more memories with her family.

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