On Sept. 16, 2015, then 11-year-old Luke (for privacy, only first names are used) was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a fast-growing form of cancer with a survival rate of 26 percent. After six and a half months of fighting for his life in the hospital, the Kyle resident wrote a letter to Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas about how he had always wanted to visit Paris.
Thanks to Make-A-Wish and PEC United Charities, his wish came true.
“At first, the (medical staff) sat me down and told me he wasn’t going to make it,” Luke’s mother Nicole said. “The anticipation of Luke’s wish made him fight harder to survive.”
After Luke was released from the hospital on April 4, 2017, he went through extensive physical therapy so he could be healthy and strong for his trip to Paris in July. During the trip, he and his family visited the catacombs, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower.
“While we were looking out over the city of lights from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, Luke began sobbing,” Nicole said. “I was worried and asked him what was wrong, and he said, ‘Mom, it’s just so beautiful.’ We were thrilled and grateful that Luke was able to have this wonderful experience that he had dreamed of for so long.”
Today at 14, Luke is in remission, and he’s hopeful that he’ll soon be cancer-free. Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas’ CEO Kathrin Brewer said it’s contributors like PEC that give children like Luke hope and a greater chance for survival.
“Not many people know that 70 percent of these kids go on after their wish is fulfilled to live a full, great life,” Brewer said. “If we can turn them into the heroes of their journey, it changes their whole perception and makes a world of difference.”
This year, PEC United Charities, a nonprofit organization operated by PEC employees for charitable giving, donated $7,529 to Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas to help grant the wishes of Luke and more kids like him.