Party Patrol arranges ‘Sweet 16’ birthday
Evie Lunceford never dreamed she’d get to go to Six Flags.
Born with multiple disabilities, Evie spent the first year of her life at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the next two and a half years at a rehab facility.
In 2004, Evie began receiving care through Wings, the BJC Hospice pediatric supportive care program. Wings provides nurturing and supportive services in a child’s home to improve the quality of life for both the child and the family.
As Evie’s 16th birthday approached in 2016, the Friends of Wings “Party Patrol” arranged a Six Flags trip that Evie and her entire family would remember forever. Party Patrol volunteers plan memorable days for Wings families as part of the Friends of Wings “Joyful Celebrations” program.
Evie’s mom, Jackie Lunceford, says Evie had always wanted to go to Six Flags. In the past, however, Lunceford had explained to Evie that they simply couldn’t afford to take the entire family to Six Flags.
But thanks to the Party Patrol, in celebration of Evie’s 16th birthday, she and her siblings enjoyed their first limo ride — and their first trip to Six Flags. Jed Limousine donated the family’s round-trip transportation, and Six Flags donated the park tickets for the entire family.
A day to remember
Evie has three brothers and one sister, all with various disabilities. Their special day began at 10 a.m. on the Saturday of Evie’s birthday week, when the limousine arrived at the Lunceford home to pick up the group — Evie, her mom, her brothers and sister, and a friend of her mom’s — and took them to Six Flags for the day.
Lunceford says Evie was thrilled. “She never wanted a traditional ‘Sweet 16’ birthday with the fancy dress and all of that,” Lunceford says.
While at Six Flags, Evie rode the bumper cars, played games and delighted in the water rides. The family received wristbands and “Six Flag Bucks” to use for food and souvenirs, courtesy of Friends of Wings. And although Evie can’t eat by mouth, she was able to enjoy tastes of Dippin’ Dots ice cream.
As a final gift, Evie picked out a pink-and-black Wonder Woman hat — not to wear, her mom says, but to display in her room and admire, like a special trophy.
After family members had enjoyed a full day of fun, the limo picked them up at 6 p.m. and took them home.
‘The best Sweet 16 birthday ever’
Lunceford says the Party Patrol made Evie’s year. “She told me it was the best Sweet 16 birthday ever,” Lunceford says.
And although the trip to Six Flags was a dream-come-true for Evie, the birthday celebration meant even more to Evie’s mother. “Every birthday is a gift to Evie,” Lunceford says. “She wasn’t expected to live past 5 years old, and she’s made it past 16.
“It’s all due to the great people with the Wings program, who have helped us since 2004. I’m so thankful for these wonderful people. They are such a blessing,” Lunceford says. “And their efforts did make Evie’s year.”