12-Year-Old Fighting Cancer Granted Wish To Go To Disney World
Three months ago, life as they knew it changed for one Central Ohio family.
One day, a happy, healthy 12-year-old boy was playing with his brothers. The next, he was lying in a hospital bed and barely able to move.
"May 19th, our whole world came crashing down," said Desirae Wagner, Eli's mother.
Wagner says she was at work when she got the phone call from one of her sons. It was a call that no parent could ever prepare themselves for.
"And he said, ‘Mom, Eli's shaking, and he's breathing funny, you have to get home right away.’ And the cops are coming," Wagner said.
Minutes later, Eli was being placed on a stretcher.
Seizing and in an ambulance, Eli arrived at Nationwide Children's Hospital unable to talk, or even walk. But it was several more days before doctors could make a diagnosis -- a high grade Glioma 4 brain tumor.
It would be another two weeks before Eli was released with a prognosis that's less than encouraging.
"(The doctor) said, most children with this, even though it may go away, within a two year time, it reoccurs," said Wagner. "And then they just go downhill from there."
Eli has gone through radiation and chemotherapy; they have taken their toll on his body, but not his spirit.
"Look -- he's smiling, cause he knows... He's my hero," Wagner said.
Eli was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Initially, he told his mom it was to play at home with his brothers.
"And then, he finally grabbed the Disney movie, and he said "there!" and slammed it on the table," said Wagner. "And I'm like, you want to go to Disney?"
Eli and his family are being treated to a family vacation to Disney World and Discovery Cove.
"Go out there, and touch the dolphins, and be able to play in the water, and just have no restrictions, and just to feel like himself," Wagner said. "Cause he used to love to swim."
And for just a few days, he won't be a cancer patient, but a little boy -- with a wish, granted.
To date, the Make a Wish Foundation has granted nearly 1,900 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions in Central Ohio.