EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — For most kids, the police escort and limo would equal the ride of a lifetime, but for Dawson Parker and Terrique Powell, it was just the start.
They got the red carpet treatment at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, and a chance to ride in vintage World War II planes.
“These kids need a break from the hospital and need a reason to smile,” said Zach Quinn, CEO and Founder of Love Your Melon, an organization that sells hats and helps kids in hospitals.
“We want to re-instill some spark in them,” he said. “Give them a reason to smile and be happy, and this really does that.”
Terrique and his 9-year-old sister Jayla are here from Alaska, where their parents are both stationed in the Air Force. Both got to fly, but Terrique picked a former Navy plane to celebrate his 13th birthday.
“He’s feeling very honored and special,” said his mother Jaywana. “Today’s his birthday and he gets to pick Popeye’s plane.”
Dawson has been in Minnesota since April, getting treatment for a rare disease called Fanconi Anemia. He flies model planes back home in Alabama, and couldn’t wait to fly in one of the T-6 Thunders.
“It’s just awesome to see him be normal,” said his mother Penni. “That’s what he said yesterday, ‘I don’t know why I have this, but I just want to be normal.’”
Or high in the sky, enjoying a view few other kids do.
Love Your Melon started as a business class idea at the University of St. Thomas. It donates one hat to a sick kid for every one sold on its website, along with funding these good deeds.