Created: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:16:00 MST
Updated: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 08:45:05 MST
Make A Wish families dealing with hospitals, treatments, and surgeries for their ill children get bogged down with the stress of everyday life. In the hopes of bringing some joy and happiness to those families make a wish of South Dakota sends them and their sick child on a trip of a lifetime.
At 4 years old, Jacob was first diagnosed with cancer...after successfully battling the disease, he relapsed years later and underwent chemo, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant.
Heather, Jacob's mother, says, "It's definitely not a normal childhood,...you do everything you can to protect your children, this is something you can't for see...you are so focused on living for that day, that looking back is hard, I mean. ....You miss out on those chances of being a normal child, but at the same time, his amazing strength and ability and his joy in everyday even when it was hard, it's just beautiful."
In 2012 Jacob got to take a trip of a lifetime to Hawaii through the Make A Wish foundation, a time when he felt a sense of freedom and renewal.
Jacob Galbraith says, "I just felt like a different kid because I wasn't in the hospital very much and then I was able to just go somewhere else where there was fun stuff."
Jacob got the opportunity to go jet skiing, climb a mountain, and experience a Hawaiian luau and swim with dolphins.
"It was pretty cool though too....I was able to give it a kiss. I was able to feed it fish and give it a hug."
Jacob's mom remembers the pure joy that the vacation brought to her son.
"Going from this kiddo recovering in a hospital bed, barely even being able to make it 15 feet, to any in room activity, to climbing Diamond head which is a monument in Oahu...to being able to climb that...and enjoy it and sit there in the breeze. and look out at nature, it brought back a level of life that didn't involved doctors and nurses, no matter how much we loved them. ..it took away the clinics, it took away all of those things ...and made him see life differently again."
The trip was a chance for this family, to start a new chapter of their life after so many challenges.
"You know make a wish is like that magic wand, no you can't get rid of the disease, no you cant get rid of the hardships or the struggles or anything else that these kiddos have to deal with, the medications the new scars all over their bodies from different treatments and surgeries and everything and it cant erase all of that, but it can just open up magic again. and kids of bring it back and give you a sense of freedom that you've lost through treatment."
Jacob is now 2 years cancer free and getting back to doing typical middle school activities. He has advice for children going through the same battles.
"Fight, stay strong and have hope."