For six-year-old Owen, there was no life changing event to mark his illness, it was a gradual process, in which antibiotics usually solved the problem for a short time. He was always tired, had growing pains and no appetite.
“One day he was so sick, after sitting down on a curb, he had a hard time standing up. When he had bath time later that night, we noticed blood spots all over the trunk of his body. We knew then something was really wrong.” -wish mom Anna. When they went to the pediatrician, she didn’t hesitate to send them straight to the ER. They found mutated cells in his bone marrow and diagnosed him with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
“We were in such a shock to hear the diagnosis; we couldn’t think past what we were dealing with. Luckily our social worker not only helped us fill out the hospital forms but, she also referred us to Make-A-Wish Mississippi,” said Anna.
When asked by Make-A-Wish what his one wish would be, Owen didn’t hesitate, he wanted to go to New York. He became fascinated with the tall buildings he saw in The Avengers video game. He was so fascinated with the tall buildings in New York City, he would regularly Google Earth and explore the location just to experience it first-hand. “While going through the treatments, we would talk about our anticipated trip to New York. We would look at all the sites we wanted to visit on Google Earth and walk the streets, it gave us something exciting to look forward to.”-wish mom- Anna.
In March Owen finally got to experience New York first hand, he walked the streets that he had only dreamed about. Everywhere he turned a sky scraper pierced the sky, the city that never sleeps, where voices never quiet and the whiff of famous New York hotdogs is endless. These are experiences that he will remember when he lays on his bed and plays his favorite video game. While the characters are walking the New York streets, he will remember the sights, smells and energy that surrounded him.
“It was amazing being in the wish experience, everyone there that anticipated our arrival, went out of their way to welcome us and make our day easier. This was a blessing for the whole family, he was diagnosed last February and when he was finally released from the hospital, we were a little scared to take him home, kind of like a new born. This gave us all a chance to get a way and not think about the Leukemia or even talk about it, but focus on fun as a whole family.” - Anna.