MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This year marks WCCO’s fourth year participating in “Wishes In Flight,” our drive for airline miles benefiting Make-A-Wish Minnesota.

In that time, you’ve helped us raise more than 30 million airline miles, and we’ve met a lot of great kids.

Last month, Matt Brickman brought some of them together for a mini Wish-Kid reunion.

It all started with Caleb Pence — the bottomless well of positivity we first met three year ago.

“And I remember when I was leaving the hotel, when I was giving everyone high fives, it was just a ton of fun,” Caleb said. “It’s been completely awesome, it’s great!”

Caleb, who is now 10, has become part of the Make-A-Wish family. Same for Gabe Bartlett and Molly Vergin, who met during our Race for Wishes in 2015.

“Oh yeah! There was like Sponge Bob and Patrick … when we walked in, I just remember that,” Molly said.

Since that day, Gabe’s and Molly’s families have become close; forming a bond over shared experience and a common language.

“Like blood counts during cancer treatment. Like, a lot of my friends were like, ‘So what does that like mean? Like what happens when your white blood counts are low?'” Gabe said. “But then Molly in her case, she was like, ‘Oh, dang. That sucks.'”

At times, their diseases have set them apart from their peers. But as last year’s wish kid — Vikki Inamagua — points out, that’s just temporary.

“We’re here, we’re still living,” Vikki said.

Sitting around a table, eating pizza, you see these kids aren’t just living — they’re thriving.

“Because of my disease it doesn’t mean that, ‘Darn, I’m separated from everybody else.’ Something comes good out of having a disease,” Caleb said. “It was life-changing for me.”

Click here if you would like to donation to Make-A-Wish Minnesota to help cover travel costs and trip souvenirs for Wish Kids and their families.

Matt Brickman