Matthew was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder at the age of two. This critical illness inhibits him from fighting off infections properly. With scheduled appointments to the doctors every month to get blood drawn, Matthew needed a break from medical procedures and hospital visits.
After a two-hour flight from New Jersey to sunny Miami, Florida, Matthew and his family arrived at their waterfront hotel. They spent the whole day taking in the beautiful Florida weather and preparing for the next few days ahead.
Matthew’s wish to meet big cats was realized when Ron Magill, a wildlife expert, took him and his family on an adventure around Zoo Miami. Their first stop was meeting the king of the jungle. Matthew was brave enough to stand right next to the ferocious lion as it was being fed. Next, was getting up close and personal with a cheetah. He was in awe watching the cheetah obey commands. This animal is known for its stealth and speed but Matthew experienced a different side of the cheetah, making this moment special and unforgettable.
After leaving the cheetahs den, they visited the giraffes. Matthew and his family were able to feed them their favorite snack and laugh at the size of their tongues! “This trip gave me memories of my two favorite things: meeting the big cats and most importantly, experiencing it with my family. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time,” said Matthew. This adventure helped Matthew’s family escape from their day to day struggles and have a day full of bonding and smiles.
The following day, Matthew went to the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami to meet exotic, baby cats! During his exclusive visit, he played with two lion cubs and a jaguar. At the end of the day the zoo decided to give him a special surprise, he met a river otter, his second favorite animal. Matthew was ecstatic. It was the perfect ending to a memorable weekend.
Originating Chapter: Make-A-Wish New Jersey