NORMAN — You’d have never know that it was 40-some degrees outside surrounded by sand, beach chairs and smiles at the Make A Wish Oklahoma reveal for nine-year-old Katie Dodson on Wednesday. A large number of friends, family members, classmates and fellow past Wish recipients came together to cheer Katie on as her wish came true. After a booming countdown of ‘3,2,1,’ Katie peeled off her blindfold and stood in shock as she looked on at her dream turned reality.
“I love it!” Katie exclaimed and then became speechless.
Katie is the daughter of Kelli and Jason Dodson and a fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary. She suffers from life threatening seizures. As her wish, Katie wanted nothing more than to sink her toes in the sand and lounge around in a backyard beach escape.
After Katie was deemed eligible to have her wish granted, the Wish team went to work like Santa’s elves and planned Katie’s “beach” for several months. The project took many man hours and volunteers, but the design was cultivated by Jamie Csizmadia, landscape architect for Olthia an urban prairie garden design firm, and Katie herself. Csizmadia said when she heard all of Katie’s ideas she knew she had to meet her and really utilize her input.
“It’s a little different working with a kid as your client,” Csizmadia said. “It’s been a dream project. Katie is brilliantly imaginative.”
Michelle McBeath, Wish coordinator, said you could see Katie’s ideas in all the details, such as the dolphin statue and garden aspects of the beach escape. Friends and family were asked to put their goodwill into Katie’s backyard as they arrived to the reveal by writing wishes for Katie’s family on a note for the beach escape’s mailbox.
Additional elements of the beach escape included a sand pit with fire surrounded by “water” made out of varying shades of blue stone, swings that looked like big beach towels, beach lounge chairs, and a beach- themed playhouse.
After the reveal, Katie’s mother Kelli said her family was so grateful to Make A Wish and all the volunteers and contractors who were key players in creating the beach escape.
“Thank you. This has been the biggest blessing since we got Katie’s diagnosis,” she said.
Because Katie loves flowers and butterflies, Csizmadia explained that the garden surrounding the play area was for native wild flowers to grow. Csizmadia asked that everyone at Katie’s Make A Wish reveal take a handful of seeds to toss into the garden and bless the backyard.
Lastly, the ribbon to Katie’s beach themed playhouse was cut and everyone celebrated by exploring the many facets of Katie’s beach escape.
Make A Wish Oklahoma fulfills about 175 wishes a year. Katie’s wish was made possible by Olthia, The Home Depot, Dlubak Glass, Lowe’s, Tuff Shed, Precision Irrigation & Landscaping, Magnolia Casual, Estrada’s Sod, In Your Dreams and Allstate.
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