Like most fans of Nickelodeon, a big item on Brendan’s bucket list was to be slimed. The 14-year-old Oak Lawn resident has always wanted to see his favorite experience at Nick up close, and thanks to Make-A-Wish, this year he did.
In 2016, while he was in sixth grade, Brendan was diagnosed with cancer and his normal school routine was replaced with cancer treatment. Brendan’s cancer was in its early stages but his parents still took precautions.
“We decided to go for a second opinion and we took him to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York where they finished his treatment,” Brendan’s mom Kerry said. “It was tough because either my husband or I had to stay in New York with Brendan during that time and we have another son at home.”
Brendan attended Oak Lawn Hometown Middle School at the time of his treatment and his parents were surprised when they discovered that a nurse from the school submitted Brendan’s name to Make-A-Wish.
“The middle school is a top fundraiser for Make-A-Wish so it was kind of cool that Brendan got to get a wish along with a couple of other kids that year,” Kerry said. “It was really special that his own school put his name forth.”
It was no surprise when Brendan decided on visiting the Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana. And his mom says every part of the wish, from the planning to the actual trip, was special.
“We had two wonderful wish granters come to the house, they were brothers, Bob and Dan Martin,” she said. “And they were absolutely fantastic, they were so kind and they came to see Brendan a few times beforehand and they came to grant the wish, they were just so awesome.”
By the time Brendan went on his trip during Spring Break he had been in remission for two years. Finishing his treatment had still been tough, but his wish was a light at the end of the tunnel.
“He had a lot of struggles after the treatment with everything post cancer, losing his hair, he lost a lot of time in sixth grade, he missed a good part of the year so that was hard,” Kerry said.
After family life was disrupted during Brendan’s treatment, his wish provided them a rare opportunity: an entire week together instead of being separated in Illinois and New York.
“It was nice to get away and spend time with the family, an actual family without being separated, in a fun place, just getting to enjoy each other’s company,” Kerry said. “And we just had a blast, it was so wonderful.”
Brendan will start high school in the fall and is a “happy and good boy”, but he still hopes to go back to the Nickelodeon resort one day. He never wanted to leave and spent every moment he could swimming in the ocean, meeting Nick characters, or getting slimed.
“He went through a lot in a short time and then he had something so nice come at the end of that,” Kerry said. “Make-A-Wish is an amazing thing. It was all about [the kids], especially Brendan, all the things he liked he got to do.”