Nine-year-old Miles can tell you the order of every U.S. president, forward and backward, and by year. Miles' love of the presidents developed at just three years old during feeding therapy he underwent as a complication from surgeries for his life-threatening heart disease.
During that time, he had several placemats that he would use, but one in particular was his favorite. It had every president on it, and Miles would spend hours looking at it. What seemed like a tool for therapy at the time was the fuel that ignited a passion for presidential history.
When Miles heard that Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington would grant his wish, he immediately knew that he wanted to travel to Washington D.C. to participate in the Easter Egg Roll at the White House.
Each year, the White House hosts an Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. This year, more than 35,000 people were in attendance, including Miles and his family. In the spirit of the theme, "Let's Go, Let's Play, Let's Move," Miles and his family enjoyed the day of games, food and education on healthy living.
Before leaving for the trip, his mom, Karyl said, "Now that Miles is medically stable and eating better, this will be the first real vacation he will have and he is really looking forward to sharing his trip with the whole family."
Together, they were able to explore the Capitol and visit major attractions, including the National Zoo, the National Museum of American History, Madame Tussads Wax Museum, the Newseum and Mt. Vernon. While on his tour of Mt. Vernon, Miles got the surprise of a lifetime! He was taken on a special V.I.P. guided tour, which led him and his dad to the tomb of George Washington. Miles was given a special honor, not normally available to the public, of placing a wreath on the tomb! This was more than he could have ever imagined, and is a memory he will hold with him forever.
"As parents of a medically fragile child, so much energy and focus is spent on medically related issues and ... it's too easy to forget to enjoy the present and the things and experiences that delight your child or make your child special," said Karyl. "Miles' trip to D.C. was truly a gift to the whole family that Make-A-Wish made possible and one that we couldn't have done ourselves. It was an incredible opportunity for us to step outside our daily regime and we feel blessed to see Miles so happy and in his realm.
Special thanks: Wish granting volunteers Lisa Schnall and Molly Whitlock and Alaska Airlines