Meet Graden

Meet Graden! This 7 year old is full of life and has a sweet spot for loving and helping others. Despite his challenges, Graden continues to stay positive and inspire others to do the same!

Graden lives with POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), which causes him to have an excessively reduced volume of blood returns to the heart, especially after lying down. This causes Graden to have extreme fatigue, dizziness, a rapid heart rate, and nausea causing him to be pulled from school and sports.

While Graden has been battling living with this condition, he hasn’t let his diagnosis stop him from his love of sports and competition – especially being a Ninja Warrior! He trains in his basement on his home-made course and competes, when healthy, in tournaments across Colorado.

Graden’s ultimate sports Dream is to meet his favorite Ninja Warrior, Kai Beckstrand and train at his gym, which Graden describes as, “like Disneyland but so much cooler!”

Graden's Dream

Graden’s Ninja Warrior Dream with Kai Beckstrand was truly a dream come true!

On Thursday morning, Graden was surprised when the Dream Team showed up to his front door to not only let him know that he was officially a Dream On 3 Dream Kid, but also that his Dream started NOW! The magic continued once the family hopped in the limo and headed to the airport. They were given a very special welcome from the United Airlines team who not only shared Graden’s story over the loudspeaker, but also invited Graden and his sister explore the cockpit!

Upon arrival in St. George, Utah, Kai’s hometown, the family headed to the Tuacahn Amphitheater to catch a showing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ending the night with hugs, Graden was so grateful and appreciative as well as incredibly excited to meet Kai the next day!

On Friday, Graden was buzzing with excitement, ready to meet his hero. Outward joy turned to shock when it came time to be face to face with Kai! Stunned by what was happening, Graden had the biggest smile and was left speechless handing over a jersey to Kai that matched his own and seeing Kai with his own last name on the back. The new custom ninja shoes went on and the excited Graden came out again after that first run up the warped wall! The next few hours were spent going from obstacle to obstacle trying everything in the gym, with Kai and his mom Holly giving pointers along the way.

Having to pull Graden and Reeva away from the course, the crew all sat down for an amazing lunch from Aubergine Kitchen where even Kai’s brother joined us. Talking about their health journeys, Kai explained his diabetes diagnosis and how he works around it to compete. Not wanting the fun to end, Graden and his sister, Reeva, ran back out to the gym before they could finish their food. After a few more runs, the team found themselves on the way to Kai’s house, where he showed them his new Corvette and an imported Japanese truck.

After a cruise around the block in the Corvette and a rev of the engine, everyone made their way to the Utah classic, Swig, and got a drink. The final surprise from Kai was a visit to a really cool spot, Pioneer Park. Turning from Ninja Warrior to rock climber, Kai took Graden, Reeva, and photographer, Jeremy up in between rocks where no one else could fit! The rest of the crew met them at the top for some amazing views. Graden and Reeva were both totally okay when they (jokingly) told them they didn’t have the hotel for tonight and instead they’d be sleeping under the rocks, so find a good one!

The day ended with time at the pool, a delicious dinner at Cliffside Inn, and family photos.

Thank you to everyone who played a part in making Graden’s Dream come true, especially the incredible Beckstrand family!

Dream Snapshots

Dream Reels