Tyler Cross passed away last summer after an eighteen-year battle with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare skin condition that kept him in the hospital for most of his last few years of life. The condition qualified him for a wish through Make-A-Wish® Iowa in 2007. Cross wished to go to visit the Florida theme parks.
“Tyler had so much fun on his wish. He got to fish from the gazebo at Give Kids the World Village, go on rides at the park and received a Men in Black identification card,” recalls Terry Cross, Tyler’s dad. “Make-A-Wish and all the organizations they partnered with were so great to Tyler and our family during this trip. We all had a great time, especially Tyler.”
On Thanksgiving night, Tyler’s family will continue their tradition of giving back to others in memory of their son, as they volunteer for Make-A-Wish® Iowa, the charity that gave them so many important memories with their son. Tyler had always wanted to work in public safety and became friends with dozens of police officers, fire fighters, sheriff’s deputies, highway patrol officers and FBI agents. To thank those in public safety, the family is offering a free pass through Jolly Holiday Lights on Thanksgiving night to anyone showing their badge or other official identification. The park is open to the general public that night, as well.
“We’re looking forward to volunteering at the front gate and seeing everyone come through,” said Terry Cross. “We’re so thankful for both the public safety officers who meant so much to Tyler and to Make-A-Wish for granting Tyler’s wish.”
“Many of our area wish families volunteer at Jolly Holiday Lights during the event,” said Jamie Rasko, Marketing & Communications Manager for Make-A-Wish Iowa. “It’s always heartwarming to see them give back and hear about the impact the wish experience had on their family. The Cross family traveled from their home in Corning – about an hour and half – to be able to do this tonight.”
Jolly Holiday Lights, a drive-through holiday event with nearly 100 displays sponsored by local companies and organizations, is open through January 1st, including all holidays, at Des Moines Water Works Park. The cost is $10 per car and 100% of admission fees go directly to Make-A-Wish Iowa. On average, the organization is granting a wish every other day in the state of Iowa.
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About Make-A-Wish® Iowa
Make-A-Wish® Iowa grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The Foundation has granted wishes to more than 3,000 children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1987 and currently grants a wish every other day in Iowa. To find out more, visit iowa.wish.org. Share the Power of a Wish®.