Wish Revealed: Nine-year-old learns he is going to Yellowstone

Evan Brooks was surprised with his wish to go to Yellowstone National Park from the Make-A-Wish foundation on Monday at the Adirondack Animal Land in Mayfield. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

MAYFIELD — As the African Safari Ride toured the Adirondack Animal Land, it made a brief pitstop near the buffalo which is when Evan Brooks’s was revealed his wish to go to Yellowstone National Park.

On Monday, while riding the safari ride at Adirondack Animal Land, the 9-year-old was speechless to learn he will make his way to Wyoming on June 13 where he will get to see more buffalo and other animals. Brooks was surrounded by family and his wish granters as his wish was revealed by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

According to its website, Make-A-Wish grants a wish to a critically ill child every 34 minutes.

“[Our] vision [is] to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a critical illness. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes. We believe a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us and inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve,” the website states.

While at Yellowstone National Park, Brooks and his family will go on a wildlife tour and watch the animals that roam the area, go on a guided fishing trip, see Old Faithful geyser known for its almost predictable eruptions, go to an Old West Wagon cookout and explore the park.

Brooks said he is excited and looks forward to seeing the animals such as bears, elk, buffalo and wolves. He said he also couldn’t wait to see the geyser.

“I’m just glad he got the opportunity to do it,” said Kristie Brooks, his mom.

She said Evan has a rare heart disease called truncus arteriosus interrupted aortic arch, which is a rare congenital heart disease.

She said Evan loves being outside.

“Anything outdoors, he loves,” Kristie Brooks said.

“I’m just excited for him,” said his brother Kyle Brooks who is also going on the trip.

“It’s great for him to be able to get the experience of his wish,” said his dad, Jeff Brooks.

James Cole, a wish granter, said it took Brooks a while to think of what he wanted as his wish, but since he loves all aspects of the outdoors, he chose Yellowstone National Park.

Cole said the wish process starts with a recommendation made by either a doctor, friend or family member who believe someone would be a good candidate for Make-A-Wish.

He said Make-A-Wish speaks with doctors and there is criteria in order to qualify. He said they can either accept or deny a wish. If accepted, volunteers such as Cole get in contact with the parents to learn all about the child and spend time with them to understand who they are and to decide what their wish is.

“Everyone in the office starts working their butts off to make it happen,” Cole said.

He said there is a Make-A-Wish chapter in Wyoming where Yellowstone is located that was able to help grant Evan his wish.

Cole said they then reveal the wish to the child, but it is kept a secret until the reveal.

Cole said he thinks it is the hardest for family members who see Evan every day to keep the wish a secret until the wish reveal.

Evan is the fourth child in the area to recently have their wishes granted.

By Josh Bovee

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