Waldorf teen’s wish granted by Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic
Receiving a sudden, life threatening diagnosis about one’s health can be terrifying, but for brain cancer survivor Collin Reitz it was motivation for him to never give up.
The 19-year-old Waldorf resident had his wish granted by Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic at an event on April 23. He was surrounded by more than 60 of his friends and family members at his home in Waldorf to see his dream fishing boat, an 18foot Carolina Skiff. Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Bass Pro Shops assisted in granting Collin’s wish through donations.
Collin’s father, Patrick Reitz, said the fishing boat was much more extravagant than he thought it would be.
“When I saw it I thought they really went overboard because they gave him a boat that he could use for a really long time and not just as a one time wish. It was exactly what he always described,” Patrick said.
Collin has enjoyed fishing and duck hunting since he was a little kid so he couldn’t wait to test drive his new fishing boat. He and two of his close friends took the boat to Smallwood
State Park not even a few hours after he received it.
“When I asked for a boat, although I didn’t really expect it, I was excited when I heard they were following through with it,” Collin said. “On the day I got the boat I was surprised because I didn’t think they would be able to pull off something that big, but Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Children’s National Medical Center made that possible and I really appreciate it.”
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children, who reside in central and southern Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and northern Virginia area, with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich them with hope, strength and joy. According to MakeA-Wish, 840 local children are expected to be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition this year alone.
Collin was diagnosed with brain cancer in September 2014.
“Children’s National Medical Center found the tumor in the back of my brain and within a day or two, they had me in surgery,” Collin said. “They removed the tumor, then I did radiation in Philadelphia for six weeks, I did chemotherapy and now I go for a check up every six months.”
Collin’s mother, Theresa Bly, said his mass was the size of a golf ball and even when his family became worried or were fearful, Collin was still motivated to get better.
“As his mom, to see the power of prayer and all of the people coming together in hopes of him being healed, it was simply amazing,” Bly said.
“It really throws a family for a loop when their child gets sick and we were exhausted, but Collin never gave up,” Patrick said. “He had a rough time with the chemo, treatments, he was in a lot of pain and he would tell us, but he never complained. He never said ‘poor me’ or ‘why me.’ He was determined to make it and I had never seen that side of my son before this. He had the strength and the attitude that he was going to beat it.”
Collin said he had family and supporters around the country who were praying for him. Collin’s grandparents, Adele “Nana” Alvey and Doug “Papa” Alvey, never left his side throughout his treatments. He said his Nana stood by him during chemotherapy treatments and stayed at the hospital every night. He felt the support of his family and supporters had a lot to do with his success story.
“It was difficult for all of us, but he had to give up so much of his life because of the diagnosis,” Adele Alvey said. “I just love him so much that I wouldn’t have had it any other way, so yes I stood beside him through it all. I still stick by him through his MRI follow-ups and we feel fortunate to have him with us. It’s amazing how these kids can bear all of the pain and suffering and still be in good spirits most of the time. When you look at him now he’s so healthy and you can see the difference.”
Collin has a bright future ahead of him as he journeys toward becoming a Maryland Natural Resources Police officer. His family believes that his self-motivation alone will help him reach his goal.
“My advice to others who are going through what I went through is don’t ever give up and don’t ever get down about your current situation,” Collin said. “You are going to go through some hard times but just as I did, always keep your head up because I never let my diagnosis get the best of me.”
On April 23, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic granted 19-year-old Waldorf resident Collin Reitz’s wish to have a fishing boat and Bass Pro Shops assisted in granting Collin’s wish through in-kind donations.