Eight-year-old Rudy loves to play in the sand and have fun in the sun, but because of his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, he was not able to go to the beach. He dreamed of the day when his immune system would be strong enough for him to play in the ocean and build sand castles again.
While Rudy was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia , or ALL, he was unable to be exposed to bacteria because of his weakened immune system due to treatment – this meant no trips to the beach. His mother said, “he kind of lived in a bubble for a long time.” Rudy spent the majority of his time at home or in the hospital.
Wish-granting volunteers met with Rudy to help determine his heartfelt wish. They learned that Rudy’s parents had previously visited Small Hope Bay in the Bahamas for a wedding, and that since then, Rudy and his siblings had heard stories, seen pictures and dreamed of experiencing this small piece of paradise for themselves. This inspired Rudy’s wish to visit Small Hope Bay with his family.
When Rudy’s immune system had regained strength, it was time for his wish.
While on his wish experience, Rudy and his family had a relaxing family vacation, away from the daily stress of doctors’ appointments and treatment schedules. They were able to enjoy time as a family – going on picnics, snorkeling, kayaking, bike riding and building forts out of palm tree leaves on the beach. Rudy and his family even went on a special boat ride to look for dolphins and go fishing. Rudy smiled from ear to ear when he caught a snapper!
Without having to worry about his immune system, Rudy was able to play in the sand and swim in the ocean, just like he had wished. One of his favorite parts was being able to go into the hot tub. Rudy’s older sister said Small Hope Bay has become their “home away from home.”
Rudy still goes in for check ups now and again, but his treatment is done. As Rudy’s dad put it, “we are out of the woods.”
Rudy and his family were able to spend time together while enjoying the warm and sunny Bahamas. At the end of their vacation, Rudy and his family left feeling a renewed sense of hope and joy.
See Rudy and his family talk about their wish experience here.