When Jack was 12 years old, his dad took him to the doctor to examine a lump near his clavicle. They expected the lump to be related to his thyroid, given his family history. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was stage-3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and within less than 24 hours, Jack underwent surgery and began chemotherapy. He then received at-home care with a six-month radiation plan.
Not long before Jack’s diagnosis, his family had moved to a new town and didn’t have the support system they would need. The shocking and tragic news of Jack’s illness added to the uncertainty his family was already experiencing. “We felt so displaced,” Jack’s mom, Mary, said.
While in the middle of a family crisis, he learned he would be granted a wish through Make-A-Wish® Minnesota. He had always been fascinated with Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, and was thrilled when that special wish was granted to him in 2012.
Jack and his family spent time at the beach, snorkeling, paddle boarding and experiencing new adventures in the warm Australian sun. Most importantly, their whole family was able to spend quality, fun time together. The trip was “bigger than life,” Mary said. After months of seeing their son fight his illness, Mary said her family needed this big event to push them back into the normalcy of family life.
Jack’s wish to go to Australia not only gave him lasting memories with his entire family, but it gave him something positive to talk about when his illness was consuming his thoughts and conversations. “It was what he needed to build him back up after what he had been through,” Mary said. “Make-A-Wish® was like the medicine that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Today, Jack is cancer free and attending St. John’s University. His personal experience with childhood cancer has inspired him to enter the medical field and to help kids get through the same challenges that were once so much a part of his life.
When you help Make-A-Wish Minnesota grant wishes: Hope is returned. Strength is regained. Joy is restored. Thank you for your support during the past 35 years. We look forward to another 35 years of wish granting and hope you will join us on this journey.
Click here to learn more about how you or your company can get involved, or how to make a gift today.