Skip to Main Content

Carowinds

Skip to Next Section

Ashton and the Dinosaurs

Lisa Stryker

Director of Communications

Ashton Bridges was recovering from a bone marrow transplant when he saw Dinosaurs Alive! on a Carowinds TV commercial. "Can we go see them?" he asked his mom. But a compromised immune system made it impossible to bring Ashton to a crowded amusement park. That wasn't going to stop Ashton's grandmother Becky Strain, who Ashton calls "Nana B." By the time I attempted to coordinate with admissions and park services we discovered that Strain had left voicemails for all three departments. "I don't give up easily when it comes to my grandchildren," she explained. 

Ashton may very well have a special place in Nana B's heart, as he was diagnosed last spring with LIG4 syndrome, an extremely rare condition caused by a DNA mutation. It weakens the immune system, which is what led to Ashton's bone marrow transplant.

Strain had one simple request: please allow Ashton and his family to visit Dinosaurs Alive! when there weren't any other guests there. So early one August morning, we met Ashton and his family at the front gate and took them by golf cart to the southern side of the park. And Ashton got to see the dinosaurs. 

At home, Ashton loves to play with dinosaur toys and Legos, jump on the trampoline and "torture his little brother Liam," said his mom, Wendy Bridges.  

Ashton and his dad, Shannon Bridges, with one of the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibits. "This dinosaur is scary," Ashton said. Which one was the scariest? "Cranosaurus!" he said without hesitation.

After walking through Dinosaurs Alive! Ashton and his family got to meet the PEANUTS gang and get a bird's-eye view of the park from the Carolina Skytower, which had been thoroughly cleaned with antiseptic wipes first. "We're very hopeful that Ashton will be able to do more things like this soon," Wendy said. "His new bone marrow has started working and it's almost in the normal range. He wants to go back to school, be with his friends and explore just like any 7-year old would." 

Wendy started a Facebook page, Ashton's Adventure, to keep family and friends updated on his progress, which includes fairly regular hospital visits. "This is definitely a highlight for him. I know he'll be talking about dinosaurs all the way home." 

Share This

Lisa Stryker

Director of Communications

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

January Copperhead Strike Construction Update

You ask, we answer. Here's the latest on Copperhead Strike. Construction crews are busy in the new year. 
Read More

MOST POPULAR RIDES AND ATTRACTIONS: 2018

It's just the beginning of the new year, and the park is already buzzing as we get within striking distance of the 2019 season. Before we launch into another year of thrills and family fun with our Opening Day on March 23, let’s take a look back at last season’s most popular rides and attractions. Here’s a list of Carowinds attractions that gave the most rides in 2018. 
Read More

North Pole Excursion

Take a trip to Santa's headquarters in North Pole Excursion, NEW at WinterFest! This area of the park is filled with holiday cheer and plenty of opportunities to make family memories. Here's your guide to our newest winter wonderland:
Read More

Let Us Entertain You – WinterFest Live Shows

WinterFest is packed with world-class live entertainment! With more than 10 shows each night, you'll always be entertained and filled with the holiday spirit. Here's your guide to WinterFest entertainment for the 2018 season.
Read More

Holiday Date Night at WinterFest

'Tis the season for romance! If cuddling up by the fire and watching your favorite Christmas movie sounds like your typical holiday date, it's time to change things up. WinterFest is filled with magical experiences for you and your significant other that you won't find anywhere else!
Read More

The Best Holiday Food – WinterFest at Carowinds

It's the most delicious time of the year! Delight your taste buds at WinterFest with our special seasonal menu created by our executive chef with you in mind. Indulge in your favorite traditional holiday dishes, or enjoy one of our chef's newest concoctions, complete with a southern twist!
Read More

Holiday Decorating Tips: How to Make the Perfect Bow

Who doesn't love decorating for the holidays? Our expert WinterFest decorators share some tips and tricks for making the perfect holiday bow for all of your decorating and gift wrapping needs!
Read More

October Copperhead Strike Construction Update

Construction on Copperhead Strike is quickly moving along. Here's your behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Carolinas' first double launch coaster!
Read More

Oh, What Fun it is to Ride - WinterFest 2018

The holidays are right around the corner, and so is another season of family fun at WinterFest! Every year, our guests can't wait to find out which of their favorite rides will be open for the holiday season. Here's your guide of up to 23 Carowinds' staples sure to give you some holiday cheer!
Read More

Blue Ridge Junction

2019 is going to be a season full of new experiences at Carowinds! Our new, immersive themed area of the park, Blue Ridge Junction, will serve as the backdrop for all of the new, exciting things coming our way.
Read More