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Make-A-Wish grants Hawaiian trip to Minot teen

Jil Schramm/MDN Wearing a lei, Hailey Graner sits next to a backpack with other supplies for her Hawaii trip in March during a Make-A-Wish event at Maysa Arena Saturday.

A Minot teen will be taking her family to Hawaii in March, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Hailey Graner, 16, received the surprise at the Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports center in Maysa Arena Saturday morning from wish granters Tami Meidinger and Sarah Burckhard, who were joined by a crowd of Graner’s family and friends.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all. I am amazed,” Graner said.

Although Graner had visited with Make-A-Wish representatives and shared some thoughts on possible wishes, it took about a year to bring the wish to fruition, said Meidinger, a Kenmare volunteer with the organization. Given the long wait, Graner had about given up on having a wish granted.

“She’s such a sweet girl. When we were going through that wish-seeking process, she wasn’t thinking about herself so much but her siblings and what they would enjoy, too,” Meidinger said.

Jill Schramm/MDN Make-A-Wish volunteers Tami Meidinger, left, and Sarah Burckhard, right, reveal the wish of Hailey Graner, who received a trip to Hawaii.

Graner wanted to go to Hawaii for various reasons.

“I have never been on a plane, never seen the ocean,” she said.

A student at Minot’s Central Campus, she also found it especially interesting in history class to learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II. She said she hopes to visit Pearl Harbor as well as swim with dolphins and eat lots of fruit. She will be traveling with her parents and two siblings.

Graner was diagnosed in 2012 with a genetic and nervous system disorder that can limit her mobility. Despite the physical challenge, she is an avid hockey fan, most notably for the Minnesota Wild. She takes part in Prairie Grit’s sled hockey and yoga.

“She’s a very special person, and we are really lucky to have her be a part of Prairie Grit. She’s always very positive and very good with the other athletes,” said Drew Hanson, fundraising director for Prairie Grit.

The Minot Builders Association donated a wooden wish box from which balloons and wish-reveal items were unveiled Saturday. Minotauros hockey players also helped with the reveal and distributed leis, or neck garlands. MarketPlace Foods donated doughnuts for the reception afterwards. Meidinger said Make-A-Wish always welcomes donations, including frequent flier miles.

To learn more about nominating a child, volunteering or donating, visit northdakota.wish.org.

In its 35 years as a chapter, Make-A-Wish North Dakota has granted 950 wishes.

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