For many kids, a wish come true is a way for them to enjoy themselves and spend time with loved ones, instead of focusing on their medical condition. But for Collin, it was even more. It was his way to celebrate being cancer-free.
“It was the finale,” said Collin’s mom, Melanie. “All the chemo was done, and then Collin’s wish was happening. It was the hurrah – the celebration. The timing was perfect.”
Out of anywhere in the world, Collin always wished he could go to Australia. When Collin and his family were referred to Make-A-Wish Arizona, he knew what his wish would be – a trip down under.
“We had such a horrendous year and suddenly, all these good things were happening to him one after the other,” said Melanie. “He was so happy – just a happy kid. It was the Collin I had known prior to his diagnosis.”
For Collin, going to Australia meant getting to experience the nature, wildlife and scenery that is unique to the continent. One of his first experiences was to visit, up close and personal, with Aussie animals where he held a giant snake and a koala, as well as fed a kangaroo.
“We went to Cairns and Sydney,” said Collin. “It was awesome. The highlight for me was skydiving and getting to experience Australia from (literally) a bird’s eye view. I felt so weightless and free. It was amazing to just skydive but to skydive in Australia was something I will never forget.”
Collin and his mom snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, and learned to surf at the popular Manly Beach in Sydney. The family spent most of their time outside, visiting all the cool sights like the Sydney Opera House.
Melanie’s favorite part of the vacation was spending quality time with her son, who is now happy and healthy.
“You don’t always get that time, especially with a teenager,” said Melanie. “When you’re in a foreign country, you depend on each other much more. It was total teamwork and we enjoyed just living in the moment.”
Collin, who has been playing football for 13 years, returned home re-energized and excited to return to the team as a healthy high school junior. He is also back into the swing of “regular” day-to-day teen activities, enjoying the homecoming dance and socializing with friends.
Yet, even as a “regular” kid, Collin says he will always look back on his Aussie adventure as a time of happiness and celebration.
“I can’t believe all of the things they arranged for me to do in Australia,” he said. “It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”