When 5-year-old Teagan was asked what her wish would be, she replied without hesitation, “I wish to go to the Aquarium.”
Sadly, we don’t yet have an Aquarium in Fresno and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is too far away for a hospitalized little girl to travel. That’s when Make-a-Wish® reached out to Aquarius Aquarium Institute and asked Tom and Aletha Lang to bring the Institute’s living Teaching Tidepools® animals to Teagan.
One of the first things Teagan showed us was her “Fishy Face.” which brought smiles to everyone in the room.
But what made us all choke up was the joy on her face as she told us all with such confidence that one of our large seashells was the “mom” and the little seashell was the “baby.” She repeatedly giggled as Tom Lang lifted the shells out of the cold saltwater and poured the remaining water inside the shells back into our tide pool tray.
Teagan really laughed when the shells, which were now full of air, were re-submerged and burped up bubbles from the sandy bottom of the tray. Of course, the larger the shell the bigger the burp – and this made her laugh all the more.
She loved our hermit crab puppet, and soon mustered up the courage to touch our living sea stars!
Teagan’s family and the representatives of Make-a-Wish Central California all received our “I Touched a Sea Star” stickers (because they followed Teagan’s lead) and Teagan got to keep the “mom” and the little “baby” seashells as our gift along with stuffed animals and a poster from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
This was one of those extra-special, emotion-filled experiences we will cherish for a long time. It is the testament of one little girl to the meaningful, personal impact of our nonprofit’s educational mission and to the higher purpose of our community’s efforts to bring a public Aquarium to Fresno.
Sadly, Teagan lost her battle on Sunday, October 6th, 2013. But the time we spent with her will provide her family with joyous memories to last a lifetime.