Boy, 7, With Congenital Heart Disease Becomes First Person on Saturn, Thanks to Virtual Reality

A team designed 7-year-old Zayden's journey to Saturn based on what he thought space would look like.

A 7-year-old with congenital heart disease became the first person to visit Saturn, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a little virtual reality magic.

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Zayden Wright, 7, of Georgia said his biggest dream was to visit outer space.

“He’s fascinated with the stars and planets and astronauts,” his mom, Shonda Wright, told “It was always the sky. As a little boy, he’ll look up at the sky and say, ‘Let’s make a wish.'"

Despite the impossible demand, Make-A-Wish Georgia was determined to make it happen.

Wright said she had a conversation with her son to find out what he thinks space would look like.

The 7-year-old had no idea she recorded his entire vision, and sent the tape to a team, which included a former astronaut, who would redesign space in virtual reality in accordance of what the boy wanted to see, including the little green alien that would wave to him from a passing planet, and the red spaceship he would travel in.

After nearly a year of planning, Zayden was invited to put on his space suit, strap into a model rocket, put on his VR headset, and explore space.

“That day when they revealed his mission, he cried tears of joy for the first time ever,” Wright said. “He created his way of going out there. My son’s imagination got him there.”

Zayden was diagnosed with three different heart defects just days after he was born prematurely in an emergency C-section

Ever since, he’s had three open heart surgeries and regular doctor’s appointments.

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“Zayden was the one who kept us strong,” Wright said. “Zayden keeps smiling.”

Although his surgeries have been a success and his heart is now in better shape, he will never be able to play sports because of the condition.

“We can’t sit at a football game and cheer for him, so [the journey through space] was his big hooray,” his mom said. “This is his big trophy that we can sit on the mantle and smile at every day.”

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