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The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

Quandt’s Unexpected Journey

When Karen Quandt, mother of sophomore Ty Quandt, picked up the phone to discover that she was on air on 94.1 KMPS she realized Ty’s nearly forgotten wish was going to be granted. Not only was it a dream come true but the beginning of an unexpected journey.

During the last week of November, Karen Quandt emailed Umpqua Bank regarding their Wish Upon a Star program in which they grant the wishes of those in the midst of tough times during the holiday season.

“I told them that Ty had been looking forward for months to seeing the movie ‘The Hobbit’ and he wanted to go with the entire [Special Education] class from Puyallup High to see the movie,” Karen Quandt said.

Only a few wishes are granted and soon after the email was sent, Ty Quandt was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Thus, the email was forgotten.

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Ty Quandt has a fatal disease called Niemann-Pick type C or NPC for short.

NPC is a rare disease that can occur as late as adulthood and affects everything from one’s movement to their brain function. A person who may have seemed perfectly healthy in their younger years begins to battle issues like dementia and seizures as they get older.

The disease is very trying and one that the Quandt family is fighting daily.

Ty Quandt is a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings and has been looking forward to “The Hobbit” anxiously for years.

“NPC disease has taken away Ty’s ability to read but he loves to be read to, so we have read the Lord of the Rings books several times and Ty likes to quote the lines from the movie too,” Karen Quandt said.

Ty’s favorite character is Gandalf and when he was six years old he dressed up as him for Halloween.

“Ty likes the scene in The Two Towers where Gandalf fights the Balrog and falls through fire and water,” Karen Quandt said. “Ty and I talk about NPC disease being the Balrog and Ty is like Gandalf, falling through fire and water and fighting NPC disease and because of the fight with the disease, Ty comes out of the fight more powerful and wiser as ‘Ty the White.’”

The adventure was even grander than expected. Ty’s entire class and a few others would accompany him; they would be picked up by a limo bus, treated to dinner at BJ’s restaurant and then go to the Southcenter AMC movie theater where they would be VIPs to see the premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

Naturally, Ty Quandt’s class got very excited.

Many of the students in the class had read Tolkien’s books and seen Peter Jackson’s movies but those who hadn’t still got in on the fun.

“I had never read the books or seen the movies so I wanted to see The Hobbit,” sophomore Breanna Kosakoski said, one of Ty Quandt’s friends.

Special Education teacher Philip Thiessen, would also be going on the trip.

“Even some of the kids that aren’t into The Hobbit really supported Ty,” Thiessen said.

The day finally came, Dec. 14, the opening day of The Hobbit, had arrived. According to Thiessen, the kids were so excited that he was “peeling them off the ceiling.”

“We got a limo bus and they took us to BJ’s restaurant up by Tukwila Mall. We ate dinner there, all the food they could eat. And then we went upstairs to the movie and they all got a bunch of swag. They got posters and rings, all kinds of stuff,” Thiessen said. “Did they need a chaperone? Not really! Because everybody was so well behaved.”

At the theater, they got posters of Middle Earth, The Hobbit key chains, lanyards with replicas of The Ring on them and all sorts of hobbit-themed goodies as well as free popcorn and sodas.

Ty Quandt noted the fantastic soundtrack.

“Ty liked the song ‘Misty Mountains’ sung by the dwarves in the movie with its deep, low and haunting sound,” Karen Quandt said.

Even after The Hobbit, the kids were hungry for more.

“The limo bus had a DVD player and screen, so the students watched The Fellowship of the Ring on the way back,” Karen Quandt said.

Kosakoski summed the trip up well.

“It was just a blast,” Kosakoski said.

Having gone there and back again, Ty Quandt’s dream come true had evolved into an adventure that not even the Balrog that is NPC could hinder.

For more information about Niemann-Pick type C disease, visit the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation website,

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Gabe Carroll
Gabe Carroll, Managing Editor

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    Rani Bush // Jan 28, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Wonderful story! You really captured the spirit of the event and how special Ty is.