The Make A Wish foundation sponsored an Aug. 9 trip to De Smet for the Karlsen family from New Hampshire.
Nine-year old Caroline Karlsen is the youngest of three children of Brian and Karen Karlsen. Caroline is an avid Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, but suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheel chair. When Make A Wish stepped forward and asked her where she wanted to go, she chose De Smet.
“This trip will broaden your horizons,” she told her mom.
Once she had decided where she wanted to go, Make A Wish took care of the rest, funding the family’s plane fare, lodging and food.
Each of the sites the family visited in De Smet also contributed. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Society and Ingalls Homestead both provided free tours, the Loftus Store gifted her a tin pail with candy sticks and the Oxbow provided a free meal.
Director Ann Lesch said Caroline especially looked forward to the wagon ride at the Homestead because she takes care of horses at home. She also took part in various hands on acitivities.
The society gave her a Charlotte rag doll and tour of the site. She made animal tracks with the stuffed animals, which guide Dianne Mollner said scared her a little bit. She also played the pump organ and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
But Mollner said “she just loved Laura — she knew everything about it. She especially loved bulldog Jack [Laura’s dog in ‘Little House in the Big Woods’].”
Caroline has an older sister Ina and an older brother Robert who is also confined to a wheelchair. “Nobody ever told us about Make A Wish for him,” said their father Brian who was celebrating his 55th birthday the day of the visit. But he said he was grateful the foundation had given his daughter the opportunity.
“Out of all the places she could have chosen, she came here,” said LIW Society director Tessa Flak. “We wanted to make it as special as possible. It sounds like they really enjoyed it.”
Posted on 08-16-2018
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