High school didn’t unfold exactly the way True envisioned it would. In August of 2017, just before the start of his junioryear, True was diagnosed with Burkitt leukemia and started five months of aggressive treatments.
Hospital stays made True’s passion for photography hard to practice, but he still dreamed of being able to spend time outdoors with his camera someday.
“Before cancer,” said True,” I was doing photography as a hobby. During treatment, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my future. That’s when I realized that I love art and photography, and there’s a big industry out there. That’s when I realized I might like to pursue photography as a career.”
When True found out he would receive a wish, he decided to combine his passion for travel and photography and take a trip to Alaska to see the beautiful landscape and take pictures of it.
While in Alaska, True and his family hiked, fished, met sled dogs, and explored Denali National Park. One day during his trip, True and his family enjoyed a custom, private guided photography and hiking excursion with Traverse Alaska. Professional photographer and Traverse Alaska guide, Mollie Foster, led the family on a full-day adventure, including a hike in the tundra specifically designed for True to be able to take photos.
“It was fun for me as a guide and photographer to have a family that was both interested in Alaska and capturing the outdoors through a photo lens,” said Mollie.
On that day in Denali, True captured many of Denali’s wonders: moose, tundra, glaciers, stormy skies, and mountains.
The weather forecast was stormy, but in the end they were able to capture beautiful landscape scenes including storm clouds and rainbows.
“We were living in the moment that day,” said Mollie. “We didn’t talk about True’s condition. We were so immersed in the present, in the hike, in the weather, and the photography, that there was no time to reflect on his health.”
That’s the impact of a wish. It was a chance for True and his family to focus on the future, not the hardships of the past, and to explore True’s dream to be a professional photographer.
The wish didn’t end when True and his family traveled home from Alaska.
“It was the best vacation we’d ever had as a family,” said True. “I’m very thankful I got to do it. Now I’m thinking about trying to work in Alaska after college. That’s how much I loved it.”
With cancer behind him, and the final months of his senior year of high school in front of him, True is excited to study art and photography in college and work his way back to the Alaska tundra someday.
Wishes impact the whole community, not just the wish child. Mollie Foster said, “Taking True and his family out was definitely a highlight of the summer for me.”
Enjoy some of the highlights of True’s wish as he continues his adventure to become a professional photographer. True’s photos here: http://akwa.wish.org/wishes/wish-stories/wish-to-go/true-alaska
Right now, we could fill seven school buses with the children who are waiting for wishes. That’s about 500 children! Why are these kids waiting? Because we don’t have enough volunteers and financial support to grant their wishes. Can you step up and donate your time or money to help make wishes come true for other kids like True?