On March 6th, 2016, five-year-old Austin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. One month later, after chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions Austin's family celebrated his remission. The journey is far from over, as the standard treatment for his diagnosis is a three-year period.
When it was time for Austin to choose his wish, Austin, had already decided what was most important to him. He wanted to see whales. And when his volunteers asked him why, Austin had a simple answer: "Because I have never seen a whale," he told them. That changed in July, when Austin and his family headed to Seattle, Washington. They were hoping to see a whale in the Pacific Ocean, and while on his wish they were surprised with many. “His wish to see whales in the wild was one that captured his love for wildlife and his want to see something strong and beautiful, just like him,” shared Austin’s mom, Cassidy. When they ventured out on the boat, the anticipation for the first sight of a whale fin skimming across the water was unforgettable for the entire family.
“I know this may sound corny, but I think the whales knew Austin was on the boat,” shared Cassidy. “They just kept coming out to give us a show, and there were so many of them! Supposedly that is so rare!
For Austin's and his family, the trip was something so much more than a journey to see whales. They were able to create lasting memories together as they reflected on their journey and took the opportunity to celebrate their ability to overcome obstacles as a family. "Over the last two years, we have been consumed with hospital stays and medicine and sickness and balancing family and work life on top of it all," Cassidy told Make-A-Wish Wyoming. "This trip gave us a chance to escape and gave us so many opportunities to just live in the moment and live for the 'right here' and the 'right now.' It made us focus on the important things... celebrating the life of our 7-year-old cancer fighter and celebrating the challenges that we have conquered together as a family."
The joy of a wish was everywhere they went during Austin’s wish trip. “It’s one thing to battle cancer, but it’s another to be able to leave your worries behind you and to just live in the moment and that’s what Make-A-Wish did for Austin and our family.”