Phoenix teen surprised with a trip of a lifetime

Braeden is getting the vacation of a lifetime that he, and his family deserve. (Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers)
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 9:31 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Braeden is a 16-year-old Phoenix boy who was born with hydrocephalus, and spina bifida and has autism. He’s also wheelchair-bound. Going on family vacations can be very challenging which is why his mother Melissa reached out to Baking Memories 4 Kids, a non-profit that sells homemade chocolate chip cookies in order to send families like Braeden’s on trips of a lifetime.

Frank Squeo is the founder of Baking Memories 4 Kids and whenever he’s in the Valley he likes to partner up with Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad. And this year we were joined by the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix firefighters, and Odysea Aquarium to give Braeden a day full of surprises.

Braeden, his mom, and his sister were waiting outside of their house when a Phoenix firetruck with flashing sirens pulled up and Frank as well as two cheerleaders with the Phoenix Suns got out. 3TV’s Tess Rafols joined the group and walked up the driveway to greet the teenager.

“Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is here because we heard about you,” Tess said. “And Baking Memories 4 Kids is this awesome organization and we have a day of surprises for you. Are you ready? Odysea Aquarium wanted to present this to you.” Tells handed his mom an envelope.

Melissa opened it up and read the note inside. The Scottsdale-based aquarium invited Braeden and his family to go to the aquarium for a very special meet and greet with one of their elite animal ambassadors—either a sloth or a penguin. Braeden said he would like to meet a penguin.

Tess then called Frank over. With a box of his cookies in hand, Frank knelt down next to Braeden. “How would you like to get on a plane with your sister and your mom and grandma and fly to Disney World and spend a whole week in Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studio, and Legoland with your family? All the meals, rent-a-car, airfare, every park pass is paid for because people in Phoenix bought these cookies year after year. That’s why we’re able to come back and bless you guys with a trip of a lifetime. "

“I think that sounds pretty cool,” Braeden smiled.

“We’re not done yet,” Tess said as she handed Melissa a second envelope and told her to open it. “Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad along with your Valley Toyota Dealers wants to present this to your family to help pay for any medical expenses, anything you guys might need, however, you would like to enjoy this.”

Melissa gasped when she opened it and saw that the Surprise Squad was giving the family $5,000.

“Moments like this are something that we’re super proud of, super excited to be a part of,” Josh McCann with the Phoenix Suns Charities said. “We heard that Braeden was a big Phoenix Suns fan and so wanted to do our part to support the community that supports us.”

Chris was one of the firefighters on the truck in front of Braeden’s house and he was all smiles watching things unfold. “Being able to come out here and do something positive and see all the smiles on everybody’s faces and just do this big surprise for him is great.”

If you would like to support Baking Memories 4 Kids, click/tap here.