This Former Make-a-Wish Kid Is Inspiring Others With His Story Of Beating Leukaemia - Men's Health Magazine Australia

This Former Make-a-Wish Kid Is Inspiring Others With His Story Of Beating Leukaemia

“I still use those words written back when I was 10 to remind me that I am only the luckiest kid in the world.”

“My name is Owen, I’m 12, and my wish is to go to Disneyland.”

Those were the words of a young leukaemia patient from Sydney, Australia, who had already undergone 1262 days of cancer treatment. During his treatments, Declan was approached by the Make-A-Wish foundation, who wanted to know about his idea of the best day ever.

Each and every day, Make-A-Wish Australia brings amazing people together to grant life-changing wishes for children with a critical illness. These wishes complement medical treatment, supporting families and empowering sick children with hope and joy when they need it most.

TAROCASH has been supporting Make-A-Wish since 2017, and has so far raised an incredible $471,557 to help deliver wishes and make the impossible possible. On average, a wish directly impacts a core group of 9 participants. This includes direct family members, volunteers and medical specialists. However, wishes have a remarkable, uplifting and positive impact for everyone involved – from the child’s friends, school, neighbours, and their local community to the organisations that help bring wishes to life.

Here, Owen explains what the experience meant for him, and what life looks like now.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey dealing with leukaemia at such a young age.

Owen: To define having childhood cancer is near impossible, days on end in hospital, away from the norm, maturing way to fast, thousands of tablets, hundreds of needles, 33 blood transplants, trips in ambulances, stripped from being a kid, joy and happiness so scarce and the underlying reality that surviving wasn’t a given. 

I guess being sick at a young age… you just learn to go to battle. The doctors, nurses and medical team choose your treatment and you just have to remain strong, trust those around and remember there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Owen & his dad Clinton Bowditch, dressed in TAROCASH.
Owen & his dad Clinton Bowditch, dressed in TAROCASH.

How did Make-A-Wish help you through your journey to recovery?

My wish was to go to Disneyland and Universal Studios. Childhood cancer was full of bad memories, Make-A-Wish helped me realise my childhood dream. My wish makes me still smile today. It’s funny how something bad, something so destructive like childhood cancer can lead to something that I can say was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Disneyland is truly the happiest place on earth.

Make-A-Wish gave me the chance to be a kid again. A chance to feel great after a long fight with a disease that has left physical and mental scars, scars that I still battle with today. I literally forgot I had cancer for week, my family forgot I had cancer for a week… and after my wish, it’s as if the doctor had given me an injection of hope, courage, determination to fight and win my battle.

Make A Wish is a Foundation like no other. In the lowest, hardest and toughest moments of my battle, Make A Wish always reminded me that there was a light at the of the tunnel, that light being hope, joy and happiness. I’m 21 now, and my wish wish was 10 years ago and I often find myself just standing or sitting there with a huge smile on my face thinking about my wish.

Can you tell us about what your life looks like now?

I’m a hardworking, passionate, ambitious and determined 21 year old. The youngest of three brothers and the son of two amazing parents. I currently work in the real estate industry in Melbourne for WHITEFOX Real Estate. I’m also involved in the family Picture Framing business. 

Life’s very busy, but after battling my illness at a young age I like to make sure I living everyday to the absolute max!

  1. Do you have any advice or inspiration for anyone who might be battling a life threatening illness? 

I focussed throughout my battle to take each day as they come. I was always reminded that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and focussed on this. 

When I was in my lowest moments I would remind myself how lucky I am, in an attempt to provide with hope and courage to go on and fight my battle.

Do you have any personal mantras or quotes that get you through the day?

My personal mantra I wrote at the age of 10, during my treatment:

“I strongly believe that life is crazy, sometimes it’s normal and sometimes it’s not. Thats why I love life. I don’t usually think about the negatives of life because what’s the point. Life should be happy everyone should smile. I’ve learnt, going through my experience that people go through harder things. I’m lucky. I know some people who have had worse than me. And for those I still see today, they look great, always smiling and happy. Laugh, be happy, smile, and don’t be negative, let them be our goals in life”. 

When you walk into any Tarocash store across Australia and New Zealand, you may be asked by the team if you would like to make a small donation to Make-A-Wish. Your small donation will contribute to Tarocash’s ongoing commitment to providing joy and hope for sick children and their families.

DONATE NOW

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

More From

Testicular Cancer Tom Haddon
Meet Tom Haddon, a testicular cancer survivor raising awareness and breaking down stigma

Meet Tom Haddon, a testicular cancer survivor raising awareness and breaking down stigma

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men, but few of them know that, and even less know how to check for warning signs. For Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, we spoke with Tom Haddon, a testicular cancer survivor who is now working to raise awareness on the condition and break down the stigma surrounding men’s health issues