Kingsburg boy meets people who made NASCAR trip through Make-A-Wish happen

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Eight-year-old Eli Wedehase has been on the road to recovery his whole life. The Kingsburg native was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. (KFSN)

Eight-year-old Eli Wedehase has been on the road to recovery his whole life. The Kingsburg native was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

From just a few days old up to his sixth birthday Eli would go under three major surgeries in order to have a full functioning heart.

"We had a rough go. We were in the hospital for 12 weeks-- he coded twice. We thought we nearly lost him; it was a huge long recovery. We didn't know what we would get in the end," said Tanya Wedehase, mother.

Eli's mother Tanya said recovery from the series of surgeries made it difficult for him to be an active child.

While recovering in the hospital, and at home, Eli started watching the Disney movie "Cars" and that lead to a new passion for the real thing.

Tanya said, "When he got home he would randomly find a NASCAR race on TV. And he would just sit glued to the TV-- he would run to his room and grab his 'Cars' characters and sit in front of the TV."

Last year the Make-A-Wish Foundation learned of Eli's dream to see the Daytona 500. That became a reality in February and on Tuesday morning Eli got to meet the people who made that happen.

New York Life made a donation to Make-A-Wish, which created a grant to pay for the trip to Florida for Eli and his entire family.

"It was fun-- the weather was nice. It was nice and great races. It was a lot of fun," Eli said. "Well it was a lot of fun and it was loud."

Eli is now enjoying life and his mom said he will have a few minor surgeries when he gets older, but she is thankful the Make-A-Wish Foundation for making his dream a reality.

"It was a huge dream for us to be able to give him something that we knew he would enjoy. We knew he would enjoy going to a NASCAR race, but that was just not something we as parents could provide for him," said Tanya.

Related Topics:
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