February 19, 2017

Naperville Community Gives the Gift of Flight

What may have seemed like an ordinary field trip to Naperville for students of St. Mary’s Catholic School from Pontiac, Illinois was anything but.

While education and hands-on experience was part of the lesson, what was taught went beyond classroom material.

It was about making the most of what you have, something ten-year-old Jonathan Becker knows plenty about after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

“We pretty much take one day at a time, it’s changed our perspective on life a lot in general,” said Marie Becker, Jonathan’s mom.

After learning of the news his teacher Heidi Legner asked her students to write about two things they want to do in life. His response- skydiving.

So she set out to make that happen, organizing a field trip for Jonathan and his classmates to iFly Naperville to experience flying together.

“Oh it’s incredible, it’s incredible to know that he is able to experience this and hopefully in the future many, many more things,” said Legner. “He starts chemotherapy tomorrow so this is his last big hurrah before his journey gets crazy.”

“Just to see the smile on his face when he’s able to do something with his classmates that he might not be able to have the opportunity to do so, it’s the little things in life like this that matters, the other things, not so important. And if we can share just one day with him and deliver the dream of flight for him that’s really what matters,” said Maggie Westlove, Director of Sales and Marketing at iFly Naperville.

Together the two rallied members of the Naperville community to make his day even greater. Bike Bald came out letting students explore their fire truck “Neptune” and even set his family up at a Chicago Bulls game because of Jonathan’s love of basketball.

And Bike Bald’s business partnership with DNA Automotive made it possible to bring a replica of the car from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” for Jonathan to try out. Just one more way to not only brighten his day, but those around him as well.

“We have some toys and gifts like we normally do, we send gifts to the children with cancer and their siblings, their families. This illness is not just an individual, it’s a whole family, so we recognize that,” said Debbie Mossburg, Executive Director of Bike Bald.

As for Jonathan, one wish granted and onto the next one…

“My grandpa is a farmer and I want to be a farmer,” he said.

Not letting his diagnosis keep him from reaching great heights.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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