Wishes & More Grants Dream Brainerd Area Golf Weekend To Minnesota Boy
A Minnesota boy has traveled to the Brainerd Lakes Area for a golf weekend of a lifetime. 6-year-old Kellen Giddings and his family are staying at Madden’s Resort, a trip made possible through the Wishes & More Foundation of Minnesota.
Sometimes golf can be more than just a game. For Kellen Giddings, it is just that.
“Before he had all his medical issues, he liked it, but after is where he just obsessed about it,” said Kellen’s mom, Nicole Giddings. “He lives, sleeps, eats, breathes golf.”
In May of 2016 when Kellen was three years old, he developed a lazy eye, and after wearing an eye patch with no results, his parents sought a second opinion.
“We went in for an MRI and they found a brain tumor the size of a tangerine right behind his eyes,” said Kellen’s father Chris Giddings.
A week later, Kellen underwent a 12-hour brain surgery to remove the tumor, but his journey was just beginning.
“He ended up getting an infection and contracting meningitis and having a pretty significant frontal-lobe stroke. The stroke left him unable to move his legs, move his right arm, or talk,” explained Chris Giddings.
After the stroke, Kellen’s doctors were not sure if he would ever be able to walk again, let alone swing a golf club.
“He was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. We wheeled him in with a neck splint because he couldn’t even hold up his head,” added Chris. “And eight weeks later, Kellen walked out in splints.”
When Wishes & More, a Minneapolis-based children’s charity, heard about Kellen’s story, they reached out to Madden’s on Gull Lake to make Kellen’s wish a reality.
“They asked Kellen, ‘what you would like to do.’ He said, ‘I would like to play golf.’ Not watch golf or not buy a golf club, he literally wants to play golf,” Chris said.
“Wishes & More reached out to us and they said they’ve got a youngster that is a wish kid and he is a golf fanatic,” said Abbey Pieper, Madden’s Resort owner and manager. “When the group was asked, there was no question. We can knock this out of the park.”
On Thursday, Kellen and his family met at Madden’s Airport Driving Range where Kellen received a private golf lesson from the Madden’s golf professional and was joined by NHL Winnipeg Jets player Tucker Poolman.
Kellen has a busy golf-filled weekend ahead of him, ending with a round on Madden’s premiere golf course, the Classic.
Though Kellen’s journey has been a long one, his family hopes that this weekend is just the beginning of a long, happy, and golf-filled future for Kellen.
“We’re absolutely just thrilled the way that he is now and just the passion that he has,” said Nicole Giddings.
“He’s been through more than any child deserves, but he’s a tough little kid and for him to be where he is at from where we were told, he’s a walking, talking miracle,” said Chris Giddings.