Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Oct. 21, 2015) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER- Make-A-Wish® arranged for Ethan Jogola and his family to enjoy a fun-filled educational day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Thursday, October 1. Ethan, from Alberta, Canada, suffers from cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening lung and digestive system disorder. When he expressed his love for space and wish to meet Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Make-A-Wish contacted Aldrin’s nonprofit, ShareSpace Foundation, and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to coordinate the meeting.
The wish family experienced multiple attractions at the visitor complex, including a stroll through the Rocket Garden, where Ethan’s passion for space was evident as he named almost all the rockets from memory and climbed into a replica Gemini capsule with his brother Matthew. They toured Space Shuttle AtlantisSM and spent nearly two hours exploring the attraction including a ride on the Shuttle Launch Experience®, which simulates a real shuttle launch.
Finally, Ethan’s wish came true when astronaut Buzz Aldrin greeted him by the Apollo 11 gantry in the Rocket Garden; the same gantry that Buzz walked before launching atop a Saturn V rocket to the moon in 1969. Buzz and Ethan walked the gantry together while Buzz shared stories about his days as an astronaut. As an additional surprise, Ethan and his family discovered they would eat lunch with the former moonwalker, then attend a special panel discussion and VIP premier screening of the highly anticipated movie: “The Martian.”
“Working with the Make-A-Wish foundation to foster the dreams of children like Ethan is very important to us,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “Seeing Ethan’s excitement for space was encouraging and mirrors our mission to inspire future generations of space explorers.”
Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation (SSF) addresses science literacy by igniting children’s passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) through delivering hands-on activities, inspirational messages, educational visits, giant Mars Maps and Innovation Kits.
ShareSpace inspires children to have a lifelong, life-changing love of STEM, coupled with artistry (STEAM), at an early impressionable age. By putting unique Buzz Aldrin Innovation Kits in the hands of young people, ShareSpace gives them the opportunity to innovate, discover, experiment and create. The National Research Council states that early exposure to STEM supports children’s overall academic growth, develops early critical thinking and reasoning skills, and enhances later interest in STEM study and careers. Even more so, by integrating Art and Design into STEM education, children will be even more equipped and inspired to become innovators of the 21st century.
Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is the world’s largest wish-granting organization, serving children in nearly 50 countries on five continents. With the help of generous donors and more than 32,000 volunteers worldwide, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the world every 21 minutes on average. Since 1980, it has granted more than 350,000 wishes to children around the world. For more information about Make-A-Wish America, visit wish.org and for more information on Make-A-Wish International, visit worldwish.org.