Almost all wish kids insist they had the coolest wish ever. But Cody, 17, can make a strong case that he had the coldest wish on record after feeling the sting of 20 degrees below zero.
Due to an interest in architecture, a Swedish pen pal and a love for cold weather, Cody wished to go to the ICEHOTEL, located about 65 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.
Cody, who was diagnosed with a rheumatic disease, learned about the ICEHOTEL in a documentary on the Discovery Channel. A part-time draftsman for an architecture firm, Cody became enthralled by the idea of a hotel hewn each winter from ice and snow.
With the help of Make-A-Wish® volunteers, Cody icey journey started as he ventured through more airports than he’s ever seen: Dallas, Chicago, Stockhom and finally the airstrip of Kiruna, a city near Jukkasjärvi.
It’s not a Swedish ice adventure though without traveling to a destination by dogsled. Cody jumps in and races from Kiruna to the ICEHOTEL 30 miles away as he takes in the snow draped view. Cody says most of the snow drifts were more than 10 feet tall.
He breathes in the cold climate and clean air as it makes him forget about his medical condition and simply soak in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Cody spends two days in a permanent heated room of the hotel, but finally he has the chance to spend in the night in one of the cold rooms. The cold rooms are built each year using blocks of ice from the nearby River Torne and stay at 28 to 40 degrees F.
As he sleeps in a bed made of ice and covered in reindeer fur, Cody enjoys the sights of a “serene blue glow” from LEDs in the icy walls and the serenity of the hotel’s silence. In the morning he wakes up and drinks a steaming cup of lingonberry juice, a concoction he likes better than hot chocolate.
But the trip isn’t over just yet. Cody reconnects with his pen pal, Martina, and her friends and family. He spends a few days in Stockholm with them visiting the Royal Guards at Stockholm Palace and experiencing his first ride on a train.
Cody knows his Make-A-Wish experience didn’t end after a few days in Sweden, it may have changed his future. Now rejuvenated, Cody stays optimistic focusing his mind on cool career goals. He received a job offer to train dog sled teams, and is considering a position at the ICEHOTEL to put his architecture skills to use.