It was a warm Caribbean night aboard the cruise ship Allure of the Seas, and 17-year-old Nathan had his mind focused on one goal: Mastering the “Flowrider”. This surfing simulation on the Royal Caribbean cruise was by far Nate’s favorite part of his wish experience. “I didn’t have to worry about anything; it took my mind off everything,” he explains. The waves splashed in his face and his family looked on with pride as he soon performed as if he had been doing this for years.
For Nate and his family, taking their minds off everything was exactly what they needed. After Nate was diagnosed with Glioblastoma last December, the entire family rallied around him and found themselves immersed in a world of hospital visits and medical treatments. The treatment Nate receives to fight his illness includes aggressive chemotherapy that leaves him feeling sick and lethargic. According to his mom, Angela, this doesn’t stop him from being the kind, giving boy he has always been. As a volunteer firefighter in Lewiston, Nate responds to calls even when he is sick from the chemotherapy. He still helps his elderly neighbor and even reads to younger children at the hospital. “Nate is one of the nicest kids you will ever meet. He will do anything for anybody…he truly has a heart of gold.”
Thanks to Make-A-Wish, Nate was able to escape on the cruise he had dreamed of since he was a little boy. Every day was a new adventure and every person they encountered - even the Captain of the ship – did whatever was in their power to ensure the family had the time of their lives. Angela comments, “Our family was able to forget for a week. For a whole week, we didn’t think of cancer at all. This was the first time in six months that we didn’t have to think about that.” As Angela watched her son master the “Flowrider”, jump off a Pirate ship, dance at a “Glow Party”, and fly across a zip line, she was full of emotion. “He had more energy on that trip than any of us did. My husband and I were sitting there watching him with tears in our eyes.”
Nate, the boy with a heart of gold, will long cherish the memories of his cruise and use them to receive strength and hope as he endures the road ahead. He explains that this trip was the perfect getaway and it has given him a new burst of energy. Angela couldn’t be prouder of her son. “He believes that miracles happen, he’s going to fight this. He will never give up.”
Wish story writer: Natasha Allard