Make-A-Wish Foundation sails into Trumbull boy's yard with a special gift

Five year-old Baylen Christensen welcomed his friends aboard his dream pirate ship Monday afternoon, docked permanently in the back yard of his Trumbull home.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which has its Connecticut chapter headquartered in Trumbull, made the dream come true for Baylen, who was born with a genetic heart condition called prolonged QT interval.

The playscape was built by TimberGyms of Newington, but Baylen wasn’t shy about giving directions, requesting that the ship include a bouncy bridge, a fireman’s pole, a steering wheel, and a circular slide. The ship is surrounded by a sea of blue rubber mulch.

“This came from my imagination,” Baylen said proudly, donning a pirate bandana and a T-shirt made by the Make-A-Wish Foundation that read, “Ahoy, Mateys, Baylen’s Wish Came True.”

“Baylen had a wish list about seven and a half miles long,” Clint Anderson of TimberGyms said. “So we made it eight miles long and put the plan together.”

Baylen chose the playscape over a trip to Disney, according to his mother, Samantha Spinks.

“He was very particular about what he wanted,” Spinks said.

His favorite show is Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

But while he picked out what he would like, he didn’t know when his wish would be granted. When a part of a pirate ship pulled up on a truck near his house Monday morning before school, he had a few questions, but the family was able to distract him and keep it under wraps until Monday afternoon, when he finally saw a team at work on the ship.

Baylen’s mother and his sister have the same condition. Both now have a defibrillator, which his mother said Baylen will likely have to get soon. But he is doing very well, and as any visitor to his party could see, he is full of life.

“There are certain things we can’t do, major sports, like swimming or basketball,” she said. “So it means a lot to have this here for him to play on every day.”

The family was referred to Make-A-Wish by their cardiologist, Dr. Richard Berning.

All of Baylen’s friends and family were invited over and a Super Duper Weenie truck and Redding Creamery ice cream truck served up treats as the kids had the chance to christen the playscape.

The wish also marked a special anniversary for Make-A-Wish — the celebration of World Wish Day. April 29 is the anniversary of the first wish ever granted, in 1980. In honor of World Wish Day, chapters all across the country are making wishes come true simultaneously to join together and truly bring Make-A-Wish to the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Several staff came out to help organize the party, including President and CEO Mike Burke, who was helping to unload bags of blue mulch.

Make-A-Wish is currently looking for support in the form of donated airline miles for its Wishes in Flight program. To learn more about Make-A-Wish and how to help, visit