Jacob Putt of Pasadena has been eager to see his favourite band perform live in concert.
What the 16-year-old didn’t know, however, was that he would be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and would meet the criteria to have a wish granted from the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Jacob’s mother Juanita Putt said her son’s health problems started several months ago. In September, she said, Jacob would throw up before heading to school. A doctor treated him for migraine headaches.
The symptoms didn’t improve with medication.
“I insisted that he get a (CT) scan done,” Juanita said during a phone interview.
Jacob had the scan Oct. 9. The results were devastating. Jacob had a brain tumour.
“The tumour was 4.7 cm big. That’s about as big as an orange,” his mother said.
Specialists at the Janeway in St. John’s explained to Juanita and her son that, if they operated to remove the tumour, the odds of a good outcome were low.
“If they tried to remove it, Jacob only had a 22 per cent chance to survive.”
Rather than surgery, Jacob underwent radiation and chemotherapy to help shrink the tumour. He finished his treatments on Dec. 15.
Juanita said she’s grateful the people in Pasadena have held fundraisers to support Jacob.
“I’ve gotten so many messages,” she said. “The support from the town is just overwhelming.”
Juanita said both she and her son remain positive about his prognosis.
“They call it a life-threatening tumour, but our attitude is this is not going to take away his life,” she said. “He had an MRI in January and the tumour is shrinking. He’ll have another MRI in April.”
While getting his treatments in St. John’s, Jacob was told he met the criteria for a wish through the Children’s Wish Foundation.
There was no hesitation in what he would ask for.
A Grade 11 student at Pasadena Academy, Jacob is a big fan of the heavy metal band, Black Sabbath.
His wish would take him and his mother as well as his best friend Patrick Cleary to the First Ontario Centre in Hamilton, Ont. on Feb. 21 to see the band.
The highlight of the trip was when Jacob met the band’s front man, Ozzie Osbourne.
“Ozzie wrapped his arms around me. We’re still waiting to get that picture,” Jacob said when contacted by phone.
Jacob said the concert was everything he knew it would be.
“It was just awesome. They still play really good for how old they are. We got to meet the band (Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler) and they had a drummer who used to be a drummer for Alice Cooper. His name is Tommy Clufetos,” Jacob said.
Jacob and his mother said they are grateful to the Children’s Wish Foundation for granting the wish.
Children’s Wish grants about three wishes a day across Canada, more than 1,000 wishes a year.
Over the past 30 years, Children’s Wish has granted over 23,000 wishes to Canadian children with a life-threatening illness. Over 780 of these wishes have been granted in this province.
Edie Newton, director of the Children’s Wish Foundation NL chapter said the chapter granted 41 wishes in 2015 and is currently working on 127 wish files.
Newton said Children’s Wish expanded has expanded its wish granting to include children with severe genetic and other serious neurological illnesses, such as severe cerebral palsy.
Donor support means Children’s Wish can open a world of possibilities to wish children and their families, Newton said, by providing respite from the overwhelming treatment schedules that disrupt everyday living, and by offering an opportunity for the family to relax together, without having to think about treatment or the wish child’s illness.
“When Children’s Wish grants a wish, we make a difference by generating hope, joy and healing,” Newton said.