‘Season of Wishes’ – Jack
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – This time of year, we celebrate a "Season of Wishes" and thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, kids facing serious illness are able to have the experience of a lifetime.
Spend five minutes with 14-year-old Jack and you know there is an undeniable passion for sailing.
In fact, Jack has a love for most competitive sports, but two years ago, he got news that would take the wind out of anyone’s sails, cancer.
At just 12-years-old, Jack was told he had Lymphoma.
"It’s a bit overwhelming just putting everything on hold from school to sports to meeting with friends," Jack said.
It was a diagnosis that came with no warning, other than a small lump on Jack’s neck they though was benign.
"It was really surprising to us cause otherwise he was super healthy," said Jack’s mother Sara, "It just takes your breath away to hear that."
But Jack would tackle his cancer with the same competitive spirit he used for sailing.
"He was a big source of support for us frankly, it was much easier on us because Jack was so strong about it," said his father Chuck.
Then Jack learned that Make-A-Wish was going to give him the opportunity of a lifetime. It involved a stamp in his passport and of course, sailing.
He was given a week-long trip sailing the British Virgin Islands.
"We had a captain on the catamaran and I got to drive pretty much the whole time," Jack said.
It was a four-bedroom, 45-foot catamaran, enough room for Jack, his parents and his two sisters.
Jack learned how to navigate and they took on seven different islands in seven days.
"It was a bit intimidating driving a 45-ft boat compared to my 8-ft Sabbit," he said.
Since they’re not sailors, Jack’s parents admit, this was a family trip they probably wouldn’t have taken, but they said Make-A-Wish also gave Jack something else.
"Kids going through these kinds of diagnoses, they have to see things and experience things you wish they didn’t have to but you get them to experience Make-A-Wish and you get to see first hand just the people being so generous to people they don’t know at all," Sara said.
Jack is currently done with his intensive treatment schedule, but will have maintenance chemo once a month until next July.