I wish to blast off to Saturn in a red rocket ship
Virtual Reality Wish Reveals a Universe of Possibilities
Zayden’s heart condition has required four open-heart surgeries and dozens of catheterizations.
Although he faces daily challenges, "he is full of life," said his dad, Zackery. "He doesn't have a great physical heart, but when you see him you feel a different spirit. Through it all, he has been stronger than [his mom and I], put together.”
Zayden is fascinated with outer space and stars, and his imagination is out of this world. His wish granters knew they would have to bring together a community committed to living up to Zayden’s expectations, as his wish was certain to prove the impossible is possible. With the help of virtual reality and 3D animation studio TRICK 3D and former NASA astronaut Cmdr. LeRoy Chiao, Zayden would be launching to Saturn.
Cmdr. Chiao gave Zayden “astronaut training” to prepare him for his mission while TRICK 3D designed their first virtual reality wish. Every aspect of the virtual reality experience was based off of Zayden’s imagination. "He was the creative director," said Chad Eikhoff, founder and CEO of Trick 3D. "We can use new technology to really just bring more joy to the world, and it's really special to be a part of that."
From Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Atlanta, Zayden blasted off to an imaginary, virtual Saturn, complete with Bebo the alien, who he imagined would live there.
"What was so special about this wish was not only what it did for Zayden and his family, but we saw an entire community come together,” said Tim Early, CEO of Make-A-Wish Georgia. “This is the first virtual reality wish that we've ever done. [Zayden] also had very specific expectations of his journey, not based on science, but on his imagination.”
After his mission, Zayden learned he was the first astronaut to ever land on Saturn. His response was simple: "Can we do that again?"