ANCHORAGE (KTUU) With its picturesque views, vibrant wildlife, and last frontier spirit Alaska is a dream destination for travelers from all over the world. Those things are part of what made it the chosen destination for 14-year-old Daria who wanted to use her Make-A-Wish trip to visit the 49th state.
Those plans got disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic just weeks before she was scheduled to embark with her family back in May. Stripping someone with a life-threatening malady or disease of an opportunity that she'd been long looking forward to
"Every time we talked about the different things they could do in Alaska she was like yeah I want to do that, yeah I want to do that. I mean there really wasn't anything she didn't want to do you know, fishing, seeing the whales, seeing moose, moose was a big thing for her." Says Elly Bainbridge, the Make-A-Wish sponsor for Daria.
As news of Daria's plight spread via Facebook posts by her sponsor, Alaskans started stepping up. "Honestly I didn't expect of the turnout or the reach that we got it was amazing. It was amazing to me how many people know somebody in Alaska." Said Elly.
Soon Daria's sponsor was receiving all sorts of mail for the young Minnesotan girl. "That was surprising. I dropped off the first batch of mail last Friday. She had about five pretty good-sized boxes and about 50 cards or postcards." Said Elly.
Along with postcards, boxes, and even a stuffed moose came video messages from prominent Alaskans. Iditarod standout Ally Zirkle sent both a message and a pillow, the SVP of Matson Bal Dreyfus went up to Portage Glacier so he could send some footage back as well. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center made a virtual tour for Daria as they have done for a number of Make-A-Wish kids. Even Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and his family sent a clip for Daria.
"She was floored because I hadn't told her anything about it because I didn't know what we get." Said Elly.
If you'd like to send a note, postcard, parcel or message to Daria you can do so by first sending it to this address:
c/o Dylan Faber
1717 Tidewater Rd.
Anchorage, AK 99501
The Matson shipping company is helping with the logistical process of getting Daria her mail and messages. It is also important to remember, as Elly Bainbridge told me, that all trips for Make-A-Wish kids have been postponed or canceled at this point. So if you are looking to make an impact for a child here in Alaska you can find more information at akwa.wish.org the organization is hosting a "virtual wish night" June 6th.
The letters and messages received by Daria so far have already vastly exceeded expectations and may continue to for both her and other young kids in the Make-A-Wish program in part due to the compassion and generosity of residents right here in Alaska.
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