A Dream Come True
- Ever Young, a 5-year-old battling cancer—who dreams of flying around the world one day as a pilot—became an honorary pilot for a day at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., where she flew a flight simulator and hung out in the air traffic control tower.
- The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation arranged the special affair for the spunky little girl. “She was just so excited and didn’t want to leave,” a rep for the Foundation tells SurvivorNet.
- Taking care of a child with cancer can be stressful on a family. “We’ve gone to behavioral parenting therapy, which I think all parents should go to,” Jane Wexler, the mother of a young cancer survivor, tells SurvivorNet.
An air force base in Tampa, Fla. has made a 5-year-old cancer patient’s dreams come true by making her an honorary pilot for a day. Col. Benjamin Jonsson, 6th ARW commander, gave Ever Young her official orders at MacDill Air Force Base.Read More
Young, who is currently battling T-Cell leukemia, was “able to fly and land a flight simulator, tour a KC-135 Stratotanker and the Air Traffic Control Tower and enjoy lunch on base,” according the MacDill Facebook page.
Team MacDill say hello to Honorary Capt. Ever Young!
Ever, a 5 year old cancer patient, was given her official orders…
Young’s experience was made possible by the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. “Thank you MacDill Air Force Base
for making today such a special day for pediatric cancer warrior, Ever!,” the foundation posted on Facebook.
“Ever dreams of being a pilot and flying around the world one day,” Dawn Zachman, director of development at the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, tells SurvivorNet. “She loves playing teacher and loves to use her pointer finger to help teach lessons to her Papa about flying.”
Pilot for a Day: The Inside Scoop
“Ever was so adorable [at the base],” Zachman says. “She was just the cutest little thing. When she first got there, she was pretty quiet, but once she went in the simulator … they let her choose, they asked ‘where do you want to fly to?’ and first she ‘flew’ to Hawaii, and then she flew to Boston, and then she flew to Las Vegas. She and her brother were playing pilot and co-pilot, and they purposely crashed into a mountain.”
Young’s fun did not stop there. “Then when she went into the real plane, and poked her little head out the window, she just waved and waved and waved and waved. She was just so excited and didn’t want to leave.”
Young, who is from Ft. Myers, Fla., was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia at age 4 when she had a stomach ache that didn’t go away. The family’s world has been turned upside down, but they remain hopeful. “She’s still doing chemotherapy treatment, but they are hopeful that she will be in remission very soon,” Zachman tells SurvivorNet. (According to the American Cancer Society, T-cell leukemia usually affects older children.)
How a Child with Cancer Impacts the Family
Jayne Wexler’s son Justice Carrier is an ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) survivor. According to the American Cancer Society, ‘acute’ means that the leukemia can progress quickly, and “lymphocytic” means it develops from early (immature) forms of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.
Wexler tells SurvivorNet that some couples have a hard time staying together because of the stress their child’s health places on their relationship. “Fortunately, we were very strong and have stayed together,” she says. “We’ve gone to behavioral parenting therapy, which I think all parents should go to.”
Their son relapsed at one point.
“My husband and I will always have fear … there’s always some sort of worry. And we know that, I mean, it could happen to any of us … so many people have cancer or something terrible happened.”
Wexler enjoys her time with her son, and realizes how precious those moments are.
“I try to just keep breathing and relax and enjoy my time with Justice. Kids can drive parents crazy. We drive them crazy. But you look back to how far he’s come and how far we’ve come, and you’ve got to just love him. And he’s the most important thing to me.”