Robbie was born with a rare genetic disorder and is developmentally and physically disabled. Though his parents were initially unsure whether he would survive being born, Robbie is now 16 and a happy teenager.
Robbie has always loved animals. This passion started with cats and dogs – he and his mom volunteer regularly at a cat shelter – and over the past few years he’s developed a particular interest in African animals. He reads and watches everything he can to study these animals, and he knew right away that seeing his favorite animals in the wild would be the ultimate wish. He even prepared a Power Point about African animals to share with his wish grantors!
Robbie and his family were so excited to learn that his wish would be coming true. In advance of the family’s departure, Robbie would ask his mom every morning, "Is today the day?" Robbie is losing his hearing and eyesight, so having the chance to go on the safari he had dreamed of before that happens made the experience especially meaningful.
Aside from seeing as many animals as possible, a key element of Robbie's wish was having his entire family share in the journey. Initially shocked to learn that they'd be able to come along on the trip, Robbie's three brothers, ages 12, 15 and 16, focused on making the trip all about Robbie. As his brother Zachary said, the boys planned to, “let him enjoy it and not get too involved with what we want to do. We’re going to have fun just following in his footsteps.”
The safari was a success, with close-up sightings of elephants, giraffes, monkeys, lions and more. Robbie's mom, Beth, called the trip a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.