BRIGHTON, Mich. - Every day, 9-year-old Madison Wegener of Brighton gets off the school bus carrying two backpacks.
"I have math homework and two new library books that I want to read," said Madison.
But both of her backpacks aren't full of homework; one of them is full with the supplies that keeps her alive.
Madison is a "Make-A-Wish" kid and this summer, her wish came true. Madison's dream was to visit Alaska. That's where her aunt lives and where her parents honeymooned.
"She's heard so many stories about Alaska," said mom, Cheryl Wegener. "She wanted to make memories of her own and while she is a dress up, tea party, drama queen kind of girl, she loves to go fishing and get outdoors."
The Make-A-Wish Foundation made that trip possible not only for Madison, her parents and younger brother, Matthew. The entire family got to ride in a sea plane, get up close and personal with grizzly bears, they even climbed a mountain and Madison did it all with pulmonary hypertension.
"I didn't expect you to do that Madison," said mom.
"I know I followed you," Madison said.
"That just shows how tough you really are," said her father, Rob Wegener.
Madison is tough, her heart works overtime because the vessels around it get kinked like a garden hose. But for ten whole days, her illness wasn't the focus.
"There for a couple of freeze-frame moments for me," said Cheryl. "Just watching Madison and Matthew run through the woods, around mountains and we were the only ones there, seeing these two little kids being kids was a special moment."
Madison and Matthew went fishing, whale watching even painted with seals.
"The seal had a paint brush on the end and the people dipped it in the paint for him," said Madison.
She now has a souvenir that will last a lifetime and one that only The Make-A-Wish Foundation could make possible.
"These kids go through so much," said Rob Wegener. "For them to have a chance to do something they really want to do, and be a kid, and not worry about the hospitals and the doctors, I don't think you can put a value on it."
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