Make-A-Wish Foundation Gives Local Girl Chance To Ski - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Make-A-Wish Foundation Gives Local Girl Chance To Ski With Her Family

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Make-A-Wish Foundation unlocked a world full of possibility for one local family Saturday, by granting the wish of a disabled, non-verbal 7-year-old girl a chance to ski at Mt. Spokane with her family.

It's a chance Eric and Petra Wheaton never thought they would have, because of their daughter's life changing condition.  Sonia is unable to walk, or even hold her head up on her own, and only understands the world through emotions and feelings.

Feelings like the wind on her face and the speed underneath her chair. Feelings she now gets to experience with her parents by her side,  thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a custom made "sit-ski chair."

"Every family has to adapt when they have a child," said Eric Wheaton,  "For us, we had to adapt differently than other families."

"She really is a go-getter like her mom, she likes the bumps and lives for the speed."

The faster the speed, the bigger smile on her face says Wheaton. It's a simple expression for other kids, but one of the only ways Sonia can show she's happy.  Her parents say they both practiced skiing with the chair for weeks before strapping Sonia in, using a 50 pound salt bag. Eric typically guides the chair downhill, while Petra protects her from behind.

"I stay behind her at all times, blocking her from aggressive skiers or snowboarders, safety is number one," said Petra.

The new chair gives her parents, who are both avid skiers, a new chance at normal.

"We are together as family today," said Petra. "We get to be out in the fresh air, see the beautiful scenery, and she gets to enjoy life, like any other kid."

 A kid, who now gets to feel free and see all that the world has to offer.

"Life is meant to be explored, she's getting to see as much as she can," said Eric Wheaton. "We will never be able to thank the Make A Wish Foundation enough."

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