By Susie Hillard Bullock
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
In early June, London’s Chase Carson’s wish to ride in a military aerobatic glider will come true as part of his visit Hawaii. The rising eighth grader at South Laurel Middle School, his mom Leigh Ann Howard, and two friends flew there in late May. Make-A-Wish and officials at Hickman Air Force Base on the island of Oahu worked together to make the arrangements.
Make-A-Wish staff member and London native Hillary Bullock helped make Chase’s wish come true.
As part of his "Wish," Chase and family will have a six-night, expenses-paid vacation in Hawaii, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. While there, Chase will take a ride in a military aerobatic glider, test a flight simulator, and take a private tour of the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Leigh Ann, a hair stylist at Tangles in London, recalls the speed with which Chase, then a fifth grader at London Elementary, went from being an average 11-year-old boy with what appeared to be a run-of-the-mill stomach virus to swollen, weak, yellow, and gravely ill, all within a span of 10 days.
“His liver enzymes were so high that doctors here sent him straight to UK,” Leigh Ann explained. Doctors diagnosed Chase with stage three Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare cancer that is considered the fastest growing in humans. Chase endured extremely aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but it took a toll.
“Chase used to be stocky,” Leigh Ann said of her 5-foot 8-inch son, who now weighs 130 pounds. “Doctors told me he would not grow again once he completed chemo and that he could have handicaps. And although they tell him he can do whatever he wants, he tires easily. His stamina is not what it once was.”
To alleviate unnecessary stress on the liver and pancreas, Chase sticks to low-fat foods. He has been cancer-free for a year.