Tye Schaffer, a Milbank fourth-grader, got the best surprise of his life on Wednesday, February 19. Make-A-Wish® South Dakota held a party in Mrs.... Tye Schaffer Granted Dream from Make-A-Wish

Tye Schaffer, a Milbank fourth-grader, got the best surprise of his life on Wednesday, February 19. Make-A-Wish® South Dakota held a party in Mrs. Beth Wagner’s classroom at Koch School. To make his wish come true, Tye, and a friend along with Tye’s dad, Mike, will go to Sioux Falls, stay overnight in a fancy hotel, ride in the limousine to the airport, and get on a plane. They’ll be traveling in style to Frisco,Texas on Sunday, March 1. That’s where Dude Perfect is. Never heard of it? Neither had the representatives from Make-A- Wish® South Dakota when they first encountered it.

Of course, if you have an adolescent boy in your house, you might be savvy to this group of young, Christian, trick-shot athletes. As Tye says, “The Dude Perfect guys are awesome. They do all kinds of trick shots in basically every sport.” Dude Perfect’s antics have launched them into the Guinness Book of World Records several times. They now hold the record for the longest basketball shot. It was a cross-tower shot —216 feet high with the basket 150 feet away from the tower’s base. But that’s just one of their records and one of the insane stunts they pull off every day. See for yourself on any of their YouTube videos, which have garnered over 9 billion total views or on their flagship channel, Dude Perfect, which boasts over 49 million subscribers.

Dude Perfect tours across the US every year, but before they leave Texas, they make time for Make-A- Wish®. They erected a separate building just for the Make-A- Wish® kids and they treat them all like stars.

“Make-A-Wish® kids get taken care of wonderfully during their entire trip,” said Laurie Danforth of Make-A-Wish® South Dakota. “They receive spending money, their rooms are taken care of — everything is taken care of, their itinerary is laid out for them. It’s a carefree four or five days when they get to go and be a kid.”

According to Danforth, “Last year, Make-A-Wish® South Dakota granted 88 wishes — a new record. Each wish costs about $7,200.” The funds come from personal and corporate donations and events. Watertown has a Make-A-Wish® dinner each November. It features silent and live auctions and the recipients from the current calendar year are recognized. Next November, Tye and his family will attend.

Valley Queen Cheese in Milbank is a local supporter of the Make-A-Wish® program. Jody Kuper, former procurement manager at Valley Queen, who attended Tye’s reveal party, said, “Valley Queen donates one-fourth cent per mile for every mile each milk-hauler drives. And, they drive a little over 3 million miles per year. You might have noticed all our milk trucks carry the Make-A- Wish® logo.” Doing the math, that adds up to about $10,000 per year.

Kuper also said, “We are delighted as a company to be involved with Make-A-Wish® and proud to help make Tye’s wish come true. It’s pretty special to be part of this.”

Danforth said, “Make-A-Wish® from Watertown to the North Dakota border raised over $94,000 last year.” Bobbie Bach also from Make-A-Wish® South Dakota, said, “There are many ways to be part of Make-A-Wish® — donate your air miles, get involved in an event, hold a fundraiser, or volunteer.”

Dansforth said, “When Make-A-Wish® was first established, it was for children with terminal illnesses, but the organization has gone beyond that to encompass children with critical illnesses.” (Tye was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2018, but his illness is in remission.) Danforth added, “Several people who have received wishes have now graduated from college and are wish granters themselves.”

Tye’s dad, grandma, aunt, uncle,cousin, some of his friends, employees from Valley Queen, Milbank Police Chief Boyd VanVooren, Principal Dave Graf and several Koch School teachers were all at the party.

There was a cake and cupcakes. Make-A-Wish® presented Tye with a gift bag. It included wristbands, the games Uno and Skip Bo for the long plane ride, and a countdown board to the start of his trip. Yesterday was 10 days and counting…

Tye has waited a long time for his wish to come true, but judging by the grin on his face, waiting the next nine days might just be the biggest trick of all.

Staff Writer

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