Wishes in Flight Campaign: Vienna DeWitt

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You have a chance to help make wishes come true for kids facing life-threatening medical conditions. For some, that means the trip of a lifetime. Thursday kicks off the Wishes in Flight Campaign which collects unused airline miles for Make-A-Wish South Dakota.

One family from Mitchell said the trip their family took in 2017 meant the world.

"I remember stepping off the steps of the plane and thinking we're here," Vienna DeWitt said.

Ten year-old Vienna DeWitt's wish was to do two things for the very first time.

"Never seen a beach before, and wanted to travel internationally because I've never been outside america before," Vienna said.

"She has always wanted to travel so she picked a very far away place to travel to," Vienna's dad Randall DeWitt said.

Vienna's wish took her entire family on a 14-hour flight to Austrailia.

"Amber got to pet a kangaroo, and I saw a baby koala too," Randall said.

Make-A-Wish planned activities for every member of the family to enjoy.

"I think it's a fun memory for everybody and its something that nobody will forget!" Vienna said.

A favorite family memory also tied to the scariest moment of their lives.

"She flopped on the couch and said, 'mom, I have a terrible headache' and didn't move for quite a while," Vienna's mom Evie DeWitt said.

At the doctor's office the next morning came a diagnosis they never would have imagined.

"Pediatrician came in and said she's had a stroke," Evie said.

"A child of 8-years-old having a stroke is not something I had ever heard of, it was shocking to say the least," Randall said. "After researching strokes in children, the outlook was terrifying."

"There are kids in the world who have strokes and can't walk, can't talk or have lost some of their brain function," Evie said.

But Vienna's doctors say she's a walking miracle.

"It is a miracle, it truly is. There is no other way to explain her healing and her recovery," Evie said.

"You just don't hear about the success and survival rate in these kinds of stories," Randall said.

While her recovery is remarkable, there's still a fear of the future.

"Still a little cautious, hoping nothing like that will ever happen again because they never found a 100% cause of why it happened," Randall said.

But when those tears creep up, the DeWitt family has some incredible memories to focus on instead.

"It was a lot of fun playing in the water. Me and Porter did a sandcastle contest," Evie said. "Giving kids, something to connect to their illness, other than just their illness."

"Instead of having bad maybe traumatic memories, they have a very bright spot that comes with it," Randall said.

The DeWitt's trip to Australia shows just how important those airline miles can be. It takes a lot to make these wishes come true.

The 'Wishes in Flight' campaign for Make-A-Wish South Dakota is this Thursday. Most of the wishes granted by Make-A-Wish require air travel, the largest expense of the chapter’s annual wish budget. Your donations go a long way in letting the organization granting more wishes.

Miles from Delta and United Airlines are accepted. Once the miles are donated, they never expire and 100% of the donated miles stay in South Dakota.

Over the last five years, more than 10 million miles have been donated, saving the organization thousands of dollars in airfare each year.

Miles will be accepted on March 1 by calling 1-800-640-9198. Miles can also be donated anytime online at southdakota.wish.org. A minimum donation of 1,000 miles is required for Delta and 500 miles for United.