Aidan is a cheerful and positive 18-year-old who is passionate for music and hopes to continue his marching band career in college.
Two years ago after dealing with severe back aches and leg numbness, Aidan from Lansing tried physical therapy before an MRI scan discovered a tumor. He was diagnosed with cancer and started inpatient chemotherapy at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago two weeks later.
Though Aidan missed a lot of his junior year of high school, he kept up with daily school work from the hospital with his teachers through an iPad. His mom, Wendy, would spend the nights next to Aidan during week-long hospital stays.
“It was very distressing and it was hard,” Wendy said. “That’s when it took the toll on the family and I would stay up there with him.”
After a month of treatment, Aidan’s social worker referred him to Make-A-Wish. When he first found out that he qualified, he was apprehensive towards the process. But, searching for possible travel destinations on the internet made him think more about the opportunity with excitement.
“He first said...’no I don’t need that’,” his mom recalled. After thinking about it for another four or six months during treatment, he decided he wanted to pursue a wish and had an idea about what he would like to do. Because of Aidan’s family’s Irish heritage, he wished to travel to Ireland with his family. Together, they explored Dublin, toured castles and visited the Aran Islands. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher is an especially cherished memory he has from the trip.
“Some of my favorite moments were just getting to spend quality time together, because we don’t normally get to do that,” Wendy said.
Aidan and his family reflect positively on his wish journey, and his mom encourages other families who have a child with a critical illness to learn more about Make-A-Wish.
“I would say that it’s definitely something to pursue because it gives them something to look forward to,” she said. “It was phenomenal and how we all got to partake in it…we are so lucky and grateful for it.”
Aidan’s last chemotherapy treatment was in June 2018, and he recently celebrated being one year cancer free. He will be a freshmen in the fall studying agriculture crop science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.