Bev flies in a hot air balloon at the Great Reno Balloon Races

Bev, 85, of Brookdale Sparks, is the type of woman who “never gives up on enjoying life.” Bev was one of the first female bus drivers in Santa Cruz, CA, and her passengers always enjoyed riding on her routes. Bev loves anything that has to do with transportation—trains, planes, boats, automobiles, you name it. But there’s one kind of ride Bev has always wanted to take—a flight in a hot air balloon.

Bev’s wish to fly in a hot air balloon would allow her to reconnect with memories of her mother, with whom she used to take a weekend trip to Reno, NV every year to watch the Great Reno Balloon Races. It became a special tradition they had for over 10 years. Bev took great care of her elderly parents before they passed, and she and her mother remained very close. Bev hasn’t been to see the balloons since her mother passed over 20 years ago, but she has never stopped wanting to go on a hot air balloon ride.

Thanks to Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale, Bev’s dream became a reality. On September 9, 2016, Bev attended the 35th Anniversary of the Great Reno Balloon Festival with her son, Ray, and resident program coordinator, Laurie. This time, she was not only able to watch all of the balloons take to the skies, she was able to go with them. “[The highlight was] going in the balloon and going up up and away. It was so quiet other than the fuel. It was really still…I had a wonderful time,” said Bev. “At 85, I’ve accomplished something in my life that I’ve always wanted to do.”

Special thanks to Reach for the Stars and Renown Children’s Hospital for taking Bev on this special hot air balloon ride.

Photos by Warren Starks of HeavenSide Studios

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September 15, 2016