"Having things to be hopeful about changes your whole mindset.” - Peter
Twelve-year-old Peter stood tentatively at the pool’s edge. He breathed in the warm, fragrant Hawaiian air and looked out over the sparkling water in front of him.
It had been nine months since Peter had even dreamed of going swimming; nine months since his world came crashing down around him when doctors diagnosed him with Ewing’s sarcoma.
In that time, Peter went through 14 rounds of chemotherapy, 30 radiation treatments and two surgeries to tackle and remove an aggressive tumor on his left pelvis.
For those nine months, the days were filled with uncertainty, fear and pain.
But then, Peter had something joyful to look forward to when he got to make a wish.
When a wish is granted, a child replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope. What’s more, research shows that wishes give kids the edge they need to conquer their illness.
“I specifically remember going to treatment and knowing that if I could get through it, I had my wish at the end,” Peter said. “It gave me something hopeful to hold on to.”
Peter’s wish came at the perfect time for his family. It was right at the end of treatment and gave them an opportunity to put cancer in the rearview mirror.
“We were still in the cancer zone, still adjusting to life not going to the hospital every day,” Peter said. But he also know he was bringing his medical journey to a happy ending.
That’s how Peter found himself at the pool’s edge, dipping in one toe to test the water.
His Hickman line had just come out days before. Until that was removed, Peter couldn’t have gone in the water. Getting that out was the final step for Peter to be freed from his treatment.
“Standing by the edge of the water, I was nervous,” he said. “Then I just I jumped in and popped right up. My parents said they’d never forget the smile on my face!”
And it didn’t end there. Peter and his family swam with dolphins. They went to a luau on Christmas day.
And Peter’s wish helped set the tone for his future.
Unfortunately, cancer often leaves behind some reminders of its past. Peter recently had a reconstructive surgery on his pelvis and has been home-bound for recovery. It’s interrupted his studies, where he’s focusing on psychology and pre-med.
You see, Peter dreams of pursuing a career where he can help kids with cancer. He’s currently leaning toward orthopedic pediatric oncology so he can work with kids who are facing the same thing he did.
And one of the things he’s most looking forward to? Referring kids for wishes.