The waves crashed gently against his ankle, as the sun slowly descended beyond the horizon. His parents watched as he threw a shell into the vast ocean and stood silently letting the water wash away his cancer…
Six blood transfusions. Over 20 spinal taps. Nearly 130 needle pokes and 1,168 days of chemotherapy. All taking place over three and a half years of cancer treatment. That’s what 9-year-old Addison from Broomfield has been going through since he was 5-years-old.
Addison was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April 2010 and had his life turned upside down and not in a good way. But then he was referred to Make-A-Wish Colorado and was given the opportunity to wish for something that would make him truly happy.
Addison thought long and hard about his wish. He contemplated the possibility of meeting a celebrity, being someone special for a day or visiting a far-off land. He decided that he would go to Hawaii, but only after he was completely finished with treatment so he could fully enjoy himself and not worry about his health. Addison was finally healthy enough for his trip in February.
“Even though his treatment took years, it gave us all something to look forward to,” said Addison’s mom, Sarah. “We were able to focus on the future and imagine the sandy, warm beaches of Hawaii!”
While undergoing treatment, Addison kept busy with school and other philanthropic activities, including the Macy’s Believe campaign. Addison helped raise money for Make-A-Wish by encouraging people in Colorado and around the world to write letters to Santa and drop them off at a Macy’s store location. Over the past three years, he collected 25,090 letters and helped grant wishes to children, just like him, with life-threatening medical conditions.
After much anticipation, February finally came and Addison and his family journeyed to Hawaii for their much-needed wish experience. Upon arrival, the family was greeted with traditional Hawaiian leis and 80 degree weather.
“In Hawaii my family and I went surfing, swam with dolphins and even went to a luau where we tried poi,” said Addison. “We did activities from sunrise to sunset until my mom had to drag my sister and me out of the water! We didn’t want to waste any time while in Hawaii.”
On their many Hawaiian excursions, Addison and his family met other cancer survivors and wish recipients.
“There were so many emotions tied to this trip,” said Sarah. “Addison’s cancer made us so much stronger as a family and introduced us to so many new people; so many new stories. We met people in Hawaii who were either cancer survivors themselves or knew people who passed away from cancer. It’s just amazing how small the world actually is.”
This wish signifies a welcomed end to a chapter for Addison and his family. They’ve grown closer and met some amazing people along the way. Addison plans to continue providing hope for other cancer patients around the country and will cherish his Hawaiian wish experience forever.