Wal­dorf teen’s wish granted by Make-A-Wish Mid-At­lantic

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIFFANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

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.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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