“Bright, fun-loving, intelligent and caring” are just a few words Colby uses to describe her 10-year-old son, Candon
. Colby’s youngest child was an extremely well-rounded little boy, looking forward to celebrating his 7th birthday when he suffered his first seizure. There had been no tell-tale signs of anything being wrong with Candon until that day. Within no time at all, he was suffering from ninety seizures a month. Hospitals, clinics, wires and electrodes became their way of life, until finally a diagnosis: Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, a disorder that affects only one in a million children. After seeking opinions from several doctors and medical facilities, the decision was made to have surgery to remove the right hemisphere of his brain.
When Make-A-Wish started working on Candon’s wish, Colby says each step offered them a much needed respite from all they had been through. What was Candon’s wish? To be a dolphin trainer for a day in Atlantis! The adventure started with the family spending the night in Buffalo the evening before their flight. They were treated to dinner at Dave & Buster’s and the kids received a gift card to play games. When they arrived at the hotel, a backpack was waiting for Candon - Make-A-Wish had supplied him with an underwater camera and a pair of toe shoes as an enhancement to his wish. Imagine Candon’s surprise when a 14-passenger limo pulled up to take them to the airport the next morning. Candon was dumbfounded and says, “the limo was great because they were partying in the back!”
Candon says his favorite part of Atlantis was visiting the stingrays because he was able to swim with them and touch them. He says they were, “slimy, soft and weird”. Candon also says the dolphins he worked with felt like plastic and were, “awesome and fast”. The trainer he worked with allowed him to go for a ride on the dolphin’s dorsal fin. Due to Candon’s surgery, he didn’t have enough strength in his left hand to hold onto the fin, but being the fighter that he is, he tried again and succeeded by riding on the dolphin’s dorsal fin one-handed! Candon even named a dolphin while in Atlantis.
Sharks and barracudas were also on the list of must-see for the family. Candon swam with a baby hammerhead shark. In the words of Colby, “Make-A-Wish just made it incredible.” Candon will always cherish his souvenir football, t-shirt, and his hat with a shark bite out of the rim. Most importantly, he will always be able to hold this special time in his heart - a time that he focused on just being able to enjoy being a 10-year-old.
It has now been just over one year that Candon has been seizure free! He recently played in his first baseball game since his illness started. “He has his drive and character back,” explains Colby, and she says the family is “thankful for every moment”.
Wish granting Volunteers: Kimberly Baker & Charles Baker
Wish Story Writer: Melody Carlin