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Accepting the invitation from Hedman and Wilk, Flute and his family will be their special guests at the Red Wilk Construction Tuff Hedeman Bull Bash on Wednesday, August 28th at the kick-off and opening performance of the bull riding at the South Dakota State Fair.
"Kyle is so excited about being the wish kid for the Red Wilk Tuff Hedeman bull riding! He has already been through a lot and has a tough road ahead of him. Our family is so grateful for this opportunity and cannot wait to come," said Kyle's mom Allison.
Hedeman and Wilk have joined forces to give Kyle the ride of his life, not on a bucking bull, but a trip to the see his heroes compete on world-class bucking bulls and meet Tuff and the elite bull riders of the Tuff Hedeman Tour.
"Thanks to my friend Red Wilk we will have the opportunity to introduce Kyle to Bull Riding in a way most kids just dream about and see on television. Red and I know that through these experiences if we are lucky, we might just have the chance to ignite hope, and strength for Kyle and his family and just let him have a little fun before he faces the reality of his disease again," said Hedeman.
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Kyle suffers from Friedreich's ataxia, a genetic disorder that causes progressive nervous system damage and movement disorders. In 2017, after seven years of testing, Kyle was diagnosed with this rare disease that is known only to afflict one of 40,000 people. He suffers from muscle control issues and has trouble walking. Friedreich's ataxia also affects the heart, and Kyle is being treated and monitored for that complication as well.
There is no cure for Friedreich's Ataxia, only treatments to assist with symptoms. As the disease progresses, most affected will be confined to a wheelchair. In spite of his illness, Kyle is an active 13-year old boy who loves swimming and riding his bike. He enjoys art activities including drawing which he excels in spite of the difficulties produced by Friedreich's.
Kyle resides in Huron with his mother and four young siblings who often assist him with walking.
The Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding tour is honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Western-based Charity founded and led by Donnalyn Quintanna, former wife of the late John Quintanna, a former PRCA World Champion Bull Rider.
Since 1994, Tuff Hedeman and Donnalyn Quintanna, have been granting western-style wishes to children faced with medical and sometimes just tragic life challenges. Through the help of dedicated professionals in rodeo and other walks of life, many celebrities, including the late Luke Perry, have dedicated their time and money to assisting Western Wishes. In 2014, an 8 Seconds Reunion Gala held at Cheyenne Frontier Days including Luke Perry and Stephen Baldwin.
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Sonny Burgess, director of clinical performing arts at Cook Children's Health Care System, the hospital in Fort Worth Hedeman frequents, discusses the impact of having Hedeman visit the children.
"More than anything, [the kids] are used to seeing somebody come in and give them a shot, some doctor comes in, over and over, and for somebody like Tuff to come in, what an incredible relief," Burgess says and adds, "I think that he's just got a great perspective on life and achieving things. He's very grateful for what he's got in his life," said Burgess.
About Western Wishes
Western Wishes specializes in granting wishes for challenged children who otherwise might not get to have experiences associated with the western lifestyle. The charitable organization has helped children of all ages attend western events from bull riding to rodeo to equestrian performance events. Western Wishes (westernwishes.org) a foundation created by Donnalyn Quintanna, the former wife of the late PRCA World Champion bull rider, John Quintanna. Western Wishes contact: Mandy Shaff, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.westernwishes.org
About Red Wilk Construction Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding
The Red Wilk Construction Bull Bash South Dakota State Fairgrounds, 1060 3rd St. SW. Tickets are on sale. Tickets are $12 for youth and $20 for adults and are available by calling 866-605-FAIR, or online at www.sdstatefair.com. A list of contestants will be available at a later date.
Media contact and press credentials: Leigh Ann Schroeder, 940.902.1112 or or www.tuffhedemanbullriding.com.
Follow Tuff Hedeman on Facebook and Instagram @TuffHedemanOfficial
Leigh Ann Schroeder
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