Lucas Nelson. Photo credit: Loren Nelson
The fourteen-year-old cancer survivor was given this exact choice, but used his one wish to raise funds for the University of Wisconsin’s Kids Cancer Fund.
Catching up with Lucas at his home in Wisconsin, he explained why he felt called to make his Make-a-Wish request.
Lucas’ journey began two years ago during a camping trip when he inexplicably fainted. A series of tests at the local medical center revealed he had leukemia. While the local doctors in Bismarck, North Dakota, were able to provide a diagnosis, options were limited so he began treatment in Rochester, Minnesota.
There was nothing easy about the trials of cancer, yet he persisted. Sue, Lucas’ mom, recalls, “Throughout his journey, he was such a positive young man. He had a great hope that was even better than we had at times.”
Reflecting on his experience, Lucas spoke of the support of his community. His parents and sister were always by his side, his friends kept in touch online; even Adventist schools around the country came together with plenty of letters and gifts of encouragement. When the Make-A-Wish people approached him, he spoke from the abundance of gratitude in his heart: he had all he wanted, and wanted to share what he could to help other children with cancer.
Lucas is currently one year into maintenance following successful treatment. He is able to attend school once more, go swimming, attend restaurants, and live a full life, yet his mission remains.
A bright blue shirt donning the word “Survivor” in a number of languages still appears on his website. Even now, he raises funds to provide more donations for cancer research with one specific goal in mind: “I would like for chemotherapy to go by more quickly for kids. Chemo causes you to lose your hair, throw up and lose weight, which is no fun at all. I would love for them to come up with something less destructive.”
For anyone who is fighting cancer, he leaves these words: “Keep on going; always hope and always believe. Trust in God, and never give up.”
Raquel Mentor is a Social Media manager, assisting various conferences in creating a community online presence.