The Opportunity to Dream: Austin’s Wish Provides Hope and Perseverance

The Rainbow Connection competitive scholarship program awards $1,000 to exceptional wish children as they pursue higher education. Austin, a 2020 TRC Scholarship Recipient, reflects on his wish for a shopping spree. When asked to describe how The Rainbow Connection made an impact on his life, he responded…

“I was first diagnosed with melanoma my sophomore year of high school – which led to a two year cancer battle. Understanding that I had a wish that could be granted at any time helped give me courage and something to look forward to while going through the various medical treatments. My wish consisted of a shopping-spree and dinner with very close friends. After going through two hard and long years battling cancer, it was truly a day and experience that will last a lifetime for me.

Upon first hearing about my wish, I started to think that maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel. After the surgeries that removed my cancer were completed, I was placed on a medication called Interferon for a year, which was used to help prevent my cancer from coming back. While going through the treatment, I would try to remind myself about the wish I was to receive. At the time, I did not know what wish I wanted to receive, so, thinking about the particular wish I would want distracted my mind from the terrible side effects of Interferon. The sense of hope and positivity my wish instilled really did help me persevere through my cancer battle.

My wish also impacted me when I received the wish itself. When it came time to receive my wish, I was thankfully cancer-free. I chose a shopping spree and I was lucky enough to bring my brother, close friend and girlfriend. The day started by picking up my loved ones and me in our very own limousine! I felt so special. We drove to our local mall and I was able to buy whatever I pleased! I also let my loved ones buy something of their liking as well – because they had been there for me throughout my entire battle with cancer. We finished the day by going to an awesome restaurant. This was a day that was beyond special to me because the wish was something that I had been looking forward to throughout my battle with cancer. I know from personal experience how much a wish can positively affect a person’s life. After having so many negative experiences, I was finally able to experience something so wholesome that I would remember for the rest of my life.”

The Rainbow Connection’s impact began early for Austin as he was able to imagine the possibilities of a wish to help get him through treatment, which led to a very wholesome and “magical” day of fun surrounded by friends. We are very excited to continue to support him through his education and wish him, along with our other recipients, the best of luck in their academic year!