For wish kid Ben, his dream came true when he met his hero, Bobby Flay, from the television show, "Iron Chef." Ben has a passion for food and cooking and was so elated to be meeting his idol.
Ben's wish included a trip out to New York City to see the sights and most importantly, to see a taping of "Iron Chef America" and go behind-the-scenes of the show. Ben had the time of his life and his favorite part of the whole experience was being in the back of the kitchen exploring all the dishes, ingredients, and the big box that covers the "secret ingredient".
Ben's mom, Amy, describes the trip as a perfect combination of fun and relaxation and that their family will always look back on the trip with warm memories. Read a note from Amy about her son's wish trip below:
As the limo arrived, to whisk our family away, we felt the load of worries, responsibilities, and stresses drop away with each mile. On the trip to the airport, our family reflected about how it had been 8 years since we had taken a family vacation – that was just our family doing something special. It was long overdue, but something we couldn't have managed after the financial toll the past year has taken on us. What a special blessing!
We were able to spend the first few days exploring New York City leading up to Ben’s wish day. The boys enjoyed the "dirty dogs" on each corner - pretzels, kabobs - it was fun for them to try the street food of NYC. At the Museum of Natural History, Ben enjoyed the African culture exhibit the best. He liked looking at all the pots and pans and dishes made from natural elements. Leave it to him to enjoy the cooking stuff the most!
Ben also loved exploring the Chelsea market, where we saw bread being made through the glass window. The old-fashioned soda shop was a must-stop for all the boys. The ambiance was amazing, and Ben loved it there!
Central Park became one of Ben's favorite places in NYC. He loved the castle-like structures in the park and could have stayed there for days. As we sat on the bench, watching the little boys play, our eldest son confided in us that our whole family needed this respite, and how much he needed it without even realizing it. Just time spent together as a family, sitting on a bench, far away from hospitals, medical bills, school stressors, work, time to mend and be together enjoying one another.
When it came time for Ben's big day, Ben was skittish and shy and overwhelmed by the whole experience. However Food Network went overboard to make sure it was his special day. I think his favorite part was being in the back of the kitchen, exploring all the dishes, the ingredients and the big box that covers the "secret ingredient." His friend, the Chairman of Iron Chef, came over every chance he got and visited with us and was so happy to see Ben again. Bobby Flay, Ben's favorite chef, came over and said "Hi" to him, and during an intermission, Ben walked up to the counter and watched him slicing up some fish. Bobby asked Ben, "Well... how did I do? Do you think I'll win?!" The special effects guy gave Ben some water and dry ice in the middle of a long shooting day... and Ben had a blast blowing the smoke and enjoying the behind-the-scenes magic that makes the show special!! They provided a "photo op" in the middle of the schedule allowing Ben to go up by the judges table and take a picture with Bobby, the Chairman, and the judges. It will be a treasured memento of his special wish-come-true. They brought him a big bag of goodies and we even bumped into Chef Morimoto backstage!! What a fun time!>
We covered so much ground in the four days we were there, packing in delight and fun at every turn, but took time to relax and enjoy it every step of the way. It was so needed by our family and we are so grateful for Make-A-Wish making Ben's dream come true and giving our family a respite that we needed so desperately.
Every step of the trip, and all the planning that the Make-A-Wish® team put into it, paid off as it was seamless from beginning to end. It was amazing how stress-free it was.
We feel so grateful that all our children were included, as Ben's cancer journey affected them so deeply. As the limo came to bring us back to the airport, it was with full hearts, lots of warm memories and a refreshed perspective ready to take back on the challenges that await us at home.
We love you, Make-A-Wish!
Special thanks Wish Granters Donna Beckman, Pat Flynn-Cherenzia and Marlene Swartz for delivering such a great wish presentation and especially for the very cool wish enhancement gifts.