Wednesday, November 09, 2016

TOP STORY >> Make-A-Wish delivers ATV

Leader staff writer

The Make-A-Wish Foundation surprised a Butlerville teen with his wish of a new all-terrain vehicle on Saturday.

Barrett Stark, 16, is battling leukemia. He was diagnosed two years ago. The disease is in remission now, and he receives chemotherapy treatment every Monday.

Stark thought his grandfather, Jimmy, was having a surprise birthday party at the family farm. He was with his grandpa when they arrived to see family and balloons. “Happy Birthday” was sung as the family slowly stepped away from signs revealing Barrett’s wish come true.

Stark’s wish, a John Deere RSX 860i Gator, was driven from hiding behind a barn. Stark also received a helmet, chest protector, goggles and gloves. He took his utility vehicle for test rides. The Mean Pig provided barbecue for lunch.

“It is amazing. It was a surprise. I’ve always wanted one,” Stark said.

Stark’s dad, Darrell Pettey, said, “I’m glad there is an organization like this, not only for my son but for all of the (children) out there.

Make-A-Wish contacted the family within the first five days Stark was in the hospital in 2014.

Stark began to think his wish might not come through.

“I’m very shocked. I’ve been trying to keep it a secret,” Stark’s mom, Polly Pettey, said.

“It is an emotional day. Hunting is in his blood. He said he had to have it before hunting season,” she said.

Modern gun deer season opens this weekend. Duck hunting opens Nov. 19.

“It will get me to the duck hunting holes, and I’ll ride around and have fun. I love it,” Stark said.

Make-A-Wish grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The average cost of a wish is more than $8,000. Make-A-Wish relies on fundraisers, corporate support and donations.

Make-A-Wish Mid-South will grant 250 wishes this year. Wishes are either to go somewhere, to meet someone, to be someone or to have something.