Steven is your average 14 year-old farm kid. He has a passion for dirt biking, a penchant for mischief making, and something inside of him that compels him to always help the underdog. Steven and his family are a pretty tight knit unit, but that bond was tested, as it is for many families, when Steven was diagnosed with anaphylactic lymphoma cancer.
In August of 2009, Steven complained of a sore shoulder. The family took their son to the doctor, thinking that it was most likely a dirt biking injury of some kind. However, after several weeks, when his shoulder wasn’t getting better, Steven had some blood work done. When it was discovered that his white cell count was through the roof, Steven was immediately admitted to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
“It’s an aggressive cancer,” says Steven’s mother, Carrie. “The thing that surprised us the most was how fast it came on. He went from being a pretty normal boy to being on oxygen.”
The distance between the hospital and the farm instantly created problems and stress for Steven and his family. For starters, the family couldn’t get home to harvest. Secondly, the family also has a daughter; because they wanted to minimize the disruption to her life, Carrie and her husband Brent had to take turns being in the city with Steven. Against their will, they became a family that could not logistically be together at a time when being together was what they needed most.
Stephen’s Wish Foundation request was a bit off the beaten path, or rather, it was something that would take him off the beaten path. Instead of a trip somewhere or meeting a celebrity idol, Steven wanted a camper trailer. Though not a typical wish, it was Steven’s way to ensure that his family would weather the storm together.
“Sometimes people are driven apart by this in a family,” explains Carrie. “Something like this wish is that little thing that can bring people back together and remind them how important family is.”
Doing things together as a family has always been of the upmost importance to the family, and even more so to Steven. It was paramount to the young man that whatever he chose as a wish, it be something he could share with his loved ones --- something they could do together as a family.
“It was really hard for us to all be apart like we were,” says Carrie. “Stephen would say, ‘when I feel better, we’ll be able to go camping together.’ Sick kids need that light at the end of the tunnel.”
The family was humbled and overwhelmed by their Wish Foundation gift. In those darker times, when Steven was at the end of his rope with his treatment, or when he felt like his family was being torn apart, he always had the promise of camping trips with the family’s new trailer to carry his spirits through to the other side.
“There can never be enough thanks,” says Carrie. “We as parents try to do as much as you can for our kids. But sometimes it’s what others do that brings everybody together. Something like this wish is that little thing that can bring people back together and remind them how important family is.”