After cancer, Wish Kid West wanted to ride the waves
SEATTLE--When we met 5-year old West Mayszak, he was ready to ride. He set his skateboard down with a clunk so he could cruise free. He just needed a little help from his mom.
"Mama hold my hand," West said as he reached up. Then, "whoo..." down the driveway.
West has always been playful and energetic. When he suddenly lost that spark, it took multiple doctor's visits to figure out what was wrong.
"We got that awful thing when some doctors and nurses come in and say, 'Hey, can we sit down?' And, um, so off we went on a crazy year," West's mom, Erin Arnheim, said.
West had a rare pediatric cancer called pleuropulmonary blastoma. He needed three surgeries and 10 months of chemotherapy.
West passed some of that hospital time watching movies.
"Me and my dad watch movies and one time we watched, like, tricks and they were surfing," West described. His mom asked, "And you could see yourself doing that, huh?"
When West was finally able to set off on the trip he wished for, the family flew to San Diego.
If he wasn't at the hotel pool or petting a dolphin at Sea World, you could find him in his happiest place, the beach.
No doctors, no medicine. Just waves to ride.
"It gave us a complete reset," Erin said. "Being able to go away and experience total relaxation, total joy, let your guard down. Because once you're in this fearful, fighting, protective mode, it's really hard. You can't just turn that off. This was a way for all of us to take a breath and remember who we are and how to have fun."
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