SUISUN CITY — Travis Air Force Base personnel, workers at a local Black Bear Diner and the Make-A-Wish Foundation spent the day Friday making memories for a Solano County child with Down syndrome.
How the day came about was as much a gift as the day itself.
D’Marrion Otten, 11, was aware of the Make-A-Wish Foundation – that the organization make dreams come true for children who are sick or have special needs, his mother, Michelle Brown, said. Her son, in addition of having Down syndrome, is hard of hearing, so he signs when he wants something but for the most part is very quiet, his mother said.
Make-A-Wish Foundation representatives came to the house in October to talk to him about his wish.
“He had been singing his favorite song, ‘Meet Me at the Mall,’ all day long, so we thought he wanted to go shopping,” Brown said of her son. “But no, he came up to me and signed helicopter. I was shocked. We live across from the base so he watched the planes take off all the time. It is his favorite thing to do. But he never, ever expressed wanting to go up in a helicopter.”
“It has always been us telling him to go to school, go to the doctor, etc. He never said he wanted something. This is a big deal, because it is the first time he asked for anything. He said he wanted to meet Batman and helicopter and that was amazing,” Brown said. “He has never expressed himself in that manner before.”
The people at the Make-A-Wish Foundation took it from there.
D’Marrion rode Friday in a Hummer onto an airplane, which stunned his mom. He then met with Travis Air Force Base personnel who gave him T-shirts, badges, patches and his own little uniform.
The 11-year-old was overjoyed. D’Marrion met someone dressed as Batman and then the big event – he went up in a helicopter to Solano Community College and “saved” his San Francisco Giants Junior Baseball team coach, Paul Ryan, from “danger,” with the help of his superhero friend.
“D’Marrion is on two baseball teams,” Brown said. “He loves soccer, and swimming. It took a lot to get him into sports but he really enjoys it.”
His family came out for D’Marrion’s big day. Sheila Brown, his aunt, went to the college and waited for the helicopter to arrive.
“He is a great kid,” D’Marrion’s aunt said. “This has been a wonderful day.”
The sixth-grader ended his day with a lunch for 50 people at Black Bear Diner in Suisun City. They had a special menu for the group with hamburgers, chicken strips, and mac and cheese as choices. Everyone got a special Batman comic and balloons.
“Black Bear Diner works with Make-A-Wish, so when I got the call I said, ‘Yes, we would be happy to put on the lunch for them,’ ” Phil Kang, Black Bear diner manager, said.
Each year Black Bear Diner has a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish where they donate $1 from each pie sold, along with a star customers can buy, to the foundation. They donated $3,100 last year from the Suisun City restaurant, Kang said.
The family was thrilled by the treatment they received from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and from people at Travis Air Force Base.
“They really honored D’Marrion,” the boy’s mother said. “It was so special.”
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.