GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds gathered at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids Friday evening to make a wish come true for a teenager and Lions fan.
Caden Bowyer is a 15-year-old from Twin Lake who has cancer in remission. He was recognized at Friday’s ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation Michigan’s 2023 Wish Ball Grand Rapids.’
“He’s been humble,” said Dr. David Hoogstra, who works in pediatric hematology-oncology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “That is a sign of him that I think the Make-A-Wish team got to see too.”
That’s how many people described Bowyer, including his doctors and organizers from the foundation.
“He is really humble and just asked to go to a game, and at Make-A-Wish, we have to go bigger than that, and so not only are we surprising him and letting him know he’s going to part of the game, he is going receive a special jersey, a signed football and be invited to be a special member of the team,” said Michael Hull, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Michigan.
Members of the Detroit Lion’s Foundation were in the audience at the event. Former pro-football player for the team, Barry Sanders, even had a special message for Caden.
“When the ask comes to help somebody who’s gone through a journey like Caden has, and their family has, and their wish is to have an experience with their favorite football team, and we represent that team, in a lot of ways, how can we say no?” said Roxanne Caine, vice president of the Detroit Lions Foundation & Community Relations.
Doctors at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital say Make-A-Wish has helped many children just like Bowyer.
“There’s so much that we can do medically for our children and families, and yet there’s often some missing pieces in that recovery process, and in that healing process; and the power a wish, the joy and strength that a wish experience brings to our children and families, is awe-inspiring,” said Dr. James Fahner, medical director of philanthropy education & provider well-being.
After the big reveal, News 8 had a chance to talk to Bowyer about what he thought of the surprise.
“Just everything together is just crazy for me,” he said. “I just love it all. They’ve done so much for me, like just besides this … I am really just ultimately thankful. … In the end, I just want to thank God for helping me get through all of this because it was crazy.”
— Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Dr. David Hoogstra’s title. We regret the error, which has been fixed.