Q: Tell us about Connor’s wish.
A: Connor really loved Kermit the Frog. But he also loved Finding Nemo and anything Pixar or Disney, so he rolled them all up and decided on a wish trip to Walt Disney World® Resort. This was in 2012 and we were booked for an early December trip.
Then Hurricane Sandy hit at the end of October.
We lost our home in the storm and Connor’s wheelchair, oxygen equipment and other medical supplies were damaged by water. With no home to return to, it seemed impossible to consider taking the trip.
We were on the verge of cancelling when a miracle happened. The owners of a vacant summer home in nearby Point Lookout wanted to donate it to a displaced family and offered to let us live there while our home was being repaired. And another helped fix Connor’s wheelchair.
The wish trip was back on!
Q: What was your best memory of the trip?
A: We had been out at the park all day and had a great time meeting Kermit and Miss Piggy. It was late - 10:30 or 11:00 pm – and we were all exhausted. But here comes Connor, rolling into the room saying, “What’s next?!” He was ready for more! He was alert, full of energy and feeling better than he had in weeks.
Q: What was your motivation in starting Team Connor for the Super Bowl Splash?
A: I wanted to provide wishes for other children – to pay it forward. Connor’s wish trip was one of our last happy memories with him. I’m so grateful we didn’t postpone the trip. If we hadn’t taken it when we did, we probably wouldn’t have gotten to do it at all. He died that April.
His wish trip was the best last memory of him we could have and I want that to be available to all families.
Q: Who are the people who jump for Team Connor?
A: The amazing people of the Long Beach community. If you need help, this town comes out in force. They take care of each other. I couldn’t think of a better event for this community than jumping in the freezing ocean in February to help someone else.
Q: What does it mean to you to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Long Beach Polar Bears Super Bowl Splash?
A: I am so proud to have been a part of this effort from the beginning. And to know that Team Connor has raised over $60,000 to grant the wishes of other children is incredibly gratifying. When you walk around Long Beach you see the Polar Bears sweatshirts everywhere. It’s an amazing feeling!
This year’s Long Beach Polar Bear Super Bowl Splash takes place on Sunday, February 2, 2020