Joel Macaulay

Joel Macaulay

Make-A-Wish grants Armstrong teen a trip to Israel

Armstrong cancer patient Joel Macauley, 18, and his family are going to Jerusalem, thanks to Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon.

The cancer treatment was an unpleasant reality but planning his dream trip to Israel helped Joel Macaulay get through it.

“When Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon visited me in Vancouver Children’s Hospital, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I decided that I wanted to go somewhere far way and somewhere with a lot of history, so I chose a trip to Israel,” said Macaulay, 18, of Armstrong who will take the week-long trip with his family, including younger brothers, Adam and Ari, starting Monday.

He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Nov. 30, 2010, after feeling tired and losing weight. Within a week, he was on his way to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, where the first phase of treatment, which was supposed to take nine months, took more than a year because of complications.

“He basically lived in Vancouver during that time but was able to come home for visits after about four months,” said his mother, Kirsten Macaulay. “Joel is currently six months into the maintenance phase of treatment, which will go on for another two years before he is finished treatment. He currently has daily chemo and needles at home. He gets chemo once a month at the Vernon hospital and every three months, he goes down to Vancouver for treatment.”

This is the first time that the BC chapter of Make-A-Wish has ever granted a wish for a trip to Jerusalem. The Israeli chapter of Make-A-Wish is assisting with local arrangements.

“I grew up going to church and Sunday school and I thought it would be very relevant for me to hear all those stories again while standing in the very place where they happened. I am very excited to be able to share this trip with my family, especially my little brothers who have never been on an airplane before,” said Macaulay.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and I am very grateful to Make-A-Wish for making this dream come true for me.”

Since 1983, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of BC & Yukon has made almost 2,500 wishes come true for kids battling a life-threatening condition. Each wish provides a child and their immediate family with a carefree and joyful experience that is far from the inherent stress and anxiety of having a life-threatening medical experience. The goal is to refocus attention with an experience that the family might not otherwise have.

For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of BC & Yukon, including referring a child to the program, participating in the Adopt-A-Wish program, or to donate in-kind gifts of goods or services, call 604-688-7944 or see www.makeawishbc.ca.