When Casey was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2014, his family was no stranger to the challenges of cancer. Just two years before Casey’s diagnosis, his brother, Brody, had been diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma.
“It was extremely tough on my boys but it was emotionally difficult for all of us,” said Casey’s mom, Sara. “Dealing with this experience not once but twice was nearly unfathomable.”
In fact, Casey was diagnosed just five days before for the entire family left for Hawaii, Brody’s wish trip for the entire family. They deliberated about calling Make-A-Wish a second time but physicians and Make-A-Wish staff encouraged them to refer Casey – as he would need something to help him through his diagnosis just as much as Brody did.
So, after an infection that almost killed him, the family again contacted Make-A-Wish Arizona and Casey was thrilled to hear find out that he would be able to plan his own one, true wish.
“When I found out my wish was coming true I was really happy and super excited!” said Casey. “I went through so much during my treatments, and this time to enjoy my wish with my family was just what I needed.”
Casey wished to go on a Disney Cruise Line cruise, so he could spend time with his family and travel across the ocean.
“He was so close to not making it, the doctors let us know it was just a matter of time,” said Sara. “It was a miracle when we boarded the cruise ship with Casey.”
During his wish, Casey enjoyed swimming every day, playing miniature golf and watching Disney shows on the ship. His favorite parts were spending a day at an island waterpark and getting called up on stage during a comedy show.
“It was so cool!” said Casey. “My wish made me feel really special and thankful for being healthy.”
Looking back on both of her sons’ wish experiences, Sara believes they have made her family stronger.
“The constant worry of not knowing if your child is going to make it, watching your sons go through difficult treatments and lack of a normal life was very challenging. At times I didn’t know if our family would survive,” said Sara. “However; we all survived it and we're a stronger family because of what we went through.”
One of Sara’s biggest takeaways from her experience with Make-A-Wish Arizona is the healing power of a wish and the impact this experience has on parents of wish kids.
“It was so great to see both of my children with a constant smile, laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves,” said Sara. “My husband and I could reflect on everything that we went through and begin the healing process on our lives and our family.”