8-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis becomes Cadet for a Day


On Friday, the Air Force Academy welcomed its newest and youngest cadet.

Eight-year-old Ryleigh Messmer from Colorado Springs was welcomed into the Cadet Wing Friday morning, even getting to fly with the Cadets.

Ryleigh has cystic fibrosis, which affects her lungs and pancreas. Friday’s Academy visit was made possible through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Cadet for a Day program.

“We’re beyond grateful, because life is hard,” Ryleigh’s mother Tricia Messmer said. “I believe for our daily routine it is very normal for us, and so we function very normal. She does a lot of things her brother does, and so with people like Make-A-Wish and the Air Force Academy, we are very grateful for just the investment and the love that they give.”

Ryleigh was also able to visit the Academy Fire Department and even lead a formation of cadets while they marched to Mitchell Hall.

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