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Born loving penguins, Aidan wishes to be an "official penguin keeper"

  • Aidan, 9, talks to the penguins before feeding

  • Aidan and his new co-workers get ready to feed the penguins at Moody Gardens

  • Aidan, 9, feeds the penguins during his wish to be a penguin keeper

  • Aidan, 9, feeds the penguins at Moody Garden in Texas during his wish to be a penguin keeper.

“ I wish to be a penguin keeper. I was born loving penguins ”

- Aidan, 9

It’s not often that a wish kid can throw the very dedicated Make-A-Wish® Arizona volunteer wish granters off their game with his or her request but Aidan, 9, threw everyone for a loop with his very specific, very unique wish request.

“I wish to be a penguin keeper,” he told them, “because I was born loving penguins.”

Aidan, who is diagnosed with a life-threatening progressive muscle disease, knew how the Make-A-Wish process worked. His older brother, Samuel, who also lives with the same life-threatening progressive muscle disease, had recently taken the whole family to Walt Disney World® Resorts for his wish experience. Aidan definitely loved Disney but he also knew that no matter what he wished for, Make-A-Wish Arizona would make it happen.

And make it happen they did. Aiden and his family headed out on their penguin adventure all the way to Moody Gardens® in Galveston, Texas, where Aidan was soon on his way to becoming a professional penguin keeper.

The staff fashioned a customized penguin keeper uniform to ensure Aidan felt like an official member of the Moody Gardens staff and gave him a quick lesson in everything he needed to know to keep his favorite birds healthy.

“Not only did I get to see penguins, but I was able to feed them fish,” said Aidan.  “Penguin keepers have to make sure the fish aren’t broken, because if the fish are broken they can harm the penguins.”

During his wish experience, Aidan discovered a few new things about penguins. “I never knew that penguins were so soft,” he said. “They feel like lots and lots of cat fur.”

To Aidan, whose wish also happened to be granted on his birthday, the day could not have been more perfect. “The Moody Gardens’ staff went above and beyond to make Aidan feel like a penguin keeper,” said Shiloh, Aidan’s mother. “They even made him a penguin cake for his birthday.”

“In the middle of his wish, Aidan turned around and said ‘Mom, I can’t stop smiling. My face is starting to hurt.’ That moment is going to stay with me forever,” said Shiloh.

And what did Aidan have to say about his day as a penguin keeper?

“My wish experience was everything I wanted it to be!”

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With many of our wishes postponed, we want you to help keep our wish kids’ spirits high! Write, video or photograph yourself sharing a message of hope and post to any of our Make-A-Wish Arizona social media channels at @makeawishaz (tag @makeawisharizona on Instagram) and use the hashtag #WishesAreWaiting.

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Make-A-Wish® Arizona
2901 North 78th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(602) 395-9474
Toll Free (800) 324-9474