A taste of a different culture in Thailand

Over the years, Make-A-Wish Connecticut has been consistent in granting the wishes of local kids, but none of it would be possible without the help of everyone within the community. As the need for wishes grows, so does the need for continued generosity. With 70% of wishes involving air travel, the miles donated will be extremely beneficial for the wish kids. The HAN Network is supporting Make-A-Wish Connecticut with the HAN Network Wishes in Flight Campaign. With a goal of 300,000 donated airline miles, you can help make travel wishes come true.

Noah Landis of Fairfield had been going through treatment for ulcerative colitis for what seemed like forever when he and his mom looked into his eligibility for receiving a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“It was during a time when everything seemed to be going downhill in Noah’s life that we were told Noah’s wish was being granted,” Dr. Robin Wachs, Noah’s mom, said. “But before we left, he had to go through some major surgeries, and it was the anticipation of the trip that got him through and granted him some semblance of the control that he didn’t have before.”

Before making his decision to wish to go to Thailand, Noah contemplated several other wishes, including spending time at a safari rescue refuge in North Carolina. A longtime animal lover, Noah was excited to see and spend time with elephants, so Make-A-Wish gave him a piece of his dream safari in Thailand. Noah and his family spent time at an elephant camp in Phuket’s Chalong highlands, where he spent time interacting with baby and fully grown elephants, while also getting to opportunity to spot several other animals.

As Noah and his family began their journey, they were struck by how different Thailand was from America.

“The flight was the start of our eye-opening experience. We flew on Air China, and everything was different,” Noah’s mom recalled. “The flight attendants did not speak much English, and even the food on the flight was completely different.”

Their resort was beautiful, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, and with numerous areas where Noah could look out and see the nearby golden beaches. But Noah was hardly going to spend his entire trip at the hotel. The family explored the area, traveling to the Phi Phi Islands, where monkeys and dolphins can be seen on the shore, and taking in some of the culture by going to Noah’s favorite part of the trip, the Muay Thai boxing match. This was a cultural event that was attended by very few tourists, and it is shrouded in ceremony, like the traditional acknowledgment of the king before the match begins.

Noah and his family saw a culture completely different from their own, and Noah also had the chance to interact with the animals he loves. The trip truly made a difference in Noah’s and his family’s lives, giving them a chance to be away from doctors and hospitals, and simply be a family on a dream vacation.

“I really appreciate all that Make-A-Wish did,” Dr. Wachs said. “It’s a stressor for both the child and their family when someone has a chronic illness, and it is incredibly kind that Make-A-Wish allows the entire family to go on the trips.”

More than 100 Connecticut kids are waiting for their wishes to come true in the coming months, and most of those wishes involve travel. You can donate unused Delta or United miles directly to the HAN Network Wishes in Flight Campaign by visiting CT.WISH.ORG/HANNetwork. JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines also accept airline miles donations that support Make-A-Wish through their airline mile donation programs, which can be contributed through their individual websites.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Wish-come-true experiences can do wonders by providing a much-needed break from lengthy hospital stays and medical treatments. They give back to a child what a serious medical condition can take away — the chance to simply enjoy being a kid. Wish kids choose something that will inspire happiness and allow them to spend precious time with their families. The Connecticut chapter has made more than 2,800 wishes come true since its inception in 1986. Learn more about Connecticut wishes at ct.wish.org, or join Make-A-Wish on Facebook (search Make-A-Wish Connecticut) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@MakeAWishCT).

Noah Landis of Fairfield experienced a new culture and got up close to the animals he loved when he visited Thailand thanks to Make-A-Wish Connecticut. Donated airlines miles are needed for trips like Noah’s, and can be shared with Make-A-Wish this April during the HAN Network’s Wishes In Flight Campaign.

Noah Landis of Fairfield experienced a new culture and got up close to the animals he loved when he visited Thailand thanks to Make-A-Wish Connecticut. Donated airlines miles are needed for trips like Noah’s, and can be shared with Make-A-Wish this April during the HAN Network’s Wishes In Flight Campaign.

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