Teen’s wish granted for trip to New Zealand

A 16-year-old Abbotsford resident will jet off to New Zealand on Nov. 11 after having his dream granted from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Austin Bilodeau

Austin Bilodeau

A 16-year-old Abbotsford resident will jet off to New Zealand on Nov. 11 after having his dream granted from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Austin Bilodeau, who was diagnosed with soft-tissue cancer in September 2009, chose to travel to New Zealand after watching a TV show called “Departures” during chemotherapy.

Austin is hoping to go “zorbing” in a giant inflatable ball, tour a volcano, visit Glow Worm Caves and perhaps try blackwater rafting. He also hopes to visit his oncologist, Dr. Prestige, who recently returned home to New Zealand.

Austin was an avid soccer player whose groin was injured by a flying soccer ball in the summer of 2009.

Thinking that his resulting soreness would eventually go away, he enrolled in winter soccer. When it became apparent that his injury was getting worse, Austin was referred to a specialist who initially thought he had testicular cancer.

After more testing, doctors eventually confirmed rhabdomyosarcoma (soft-tissue cancer). Treatment involved multiple surgeries and six months of chemotherapy that concluded on March 29, 2010.

“Once a week for six months we drove into Vancouver from Abbotsford for his chemotherapy,” said his mother Bonnie. “It was a pretty difficult time.”

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has made more than 1,400 wishes come true for kids battling a life-threatening medical condition. For more information, visit makeawishbc.ca.