Daisy thought she was just going for a scavenger hunt. She was doing Make-A-Wish Minnesota a favor, helping film an educational video, she was told.
Together with Make-A-Wish Minnesota, Thrifty Traveler sent Daisy through the Mall of America on Wednesday with a series of clues. She crisscrossed her way across the mall all day in pursuit of each clue, making her way to Moose Mountain for a round of mini golf, hitched a ride on a roller coaster at Nickelodeon Universe, got a box of Skittles larger than her head, and even picked up some new clothes.
Read about Daisy and her wish to go to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
The final clue brought her to the underground aquarium at Sea Life, where divers uncovered a sign with a surprise message inside the tank. As Daisy read the words, it finally hit her: There was no training video. It was all a set up for the big reveal: Her wish to go to the Bahamas has been granted!
“I’m speechless,” Daisy said with an enormous smile afterward. “I was very surprised.”
You helped make that happen. We’ve been raising airline miles with Make-A-Wish Minnesota so we can grant travel wishes for kids with critical illnesses like Daisy. And as of Thursday morning, we have raised nearly 800,000 miles to help cover flights to the Bahamas for Daisy and her family.
Learn more about how you can donate miles to help us reach our goal of 2 million for Make-A-Wish Minnesota. Donating miles is easy – and free!
A Scavenger Hunt and a Surprise
Daisy admitted she didn’t see the big wish reveal coming.
The 12-year-old has weathered surgeries, painful treatments, missed school, and more for years. She was diagnosed with an incurable gastrointestinal disorder at a young age. In 2017, she had surgery to remove her large intestine. – and then a second, follow-up surgery months later.
Her love of books and animals powered her through those tough times. And it also led her to Make-A-Wish Minnesota and her own wish: to go to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The resort’s animal rehabilitation center, library, and plenty of pools made it her paradise.
But Daisy thought that was still up in the air. So her day started on Wednesday with a big welcome in the mall’s rotunda, where dozens of mall employees gathered to cheer her on.
Her first clue led her to Moose Mountain for a round of mini golf. But the scavenger hunt continued. Make-A-Wish Minnesota’s President and CEO Mia Hoagberg gave Daisy Clue #2.
She eventually made her way to the candy store It’Sugar for a massive box of Skittles – her favorite.
Before long, it was time to make her way to Sea Life to finish the sixth and final clue. With her family and Make-A-Wish volunteers in tow, Daisy wound her way through the rainforest and down the underwater tunnels before stopping to watch a pair of divers. They high-fived and fist-bumped through the glass before the diver.
Daisy mouthed the words silently and threw her head back in surprise before reading them aloud: “You’ve made it through to the final clue; And Daisy, we have news for you; Your wish to go to Atlantis is coming TRUE!”
Daisy flashed the divers a thumbs up and a big smile and stood in disbelief for a few minutes before running over to her mother, Brittany, for a long hug. Like Make-A-Wish Minnesota, Brittany had kept the secret from her daughter.
“We have never taken a trip as a family to any location, ever… It’s always been to go to family,” Brittany said. “Experiencing a trip, all four of us, where we can actually have fun, make memories …. it means a lot.”
“I can’t even put into words how much it means to us,” Brittany added.