MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When our neighbors need a hand, Minnesotans always seem to be there to help. So on Tuesday, we’re proud to tell you about Accomplish Minnesota.
It’s a way for all of us to get involved in the community we care so much about through a program called Wishes in Flight. It helped on Rochester teenager take his family to Paris through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“When I was trying to decide my wish, I was thinking I really want to go to France, but I really want to be able to paint, so why don’t I go paint in France?” said Cade Larsen.
After growing up with stories from his mother and grandmother who spent time living in France, the 15-year-old wanted to get far away from an endless stream of doctors’ appointments and trips to the hospital. Two years ago February, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor called Craniopharyngioma.
His mother, Paige, said they had to take out his pituitary gland to get the tumor out.
Cade now has to take a cocktail of synthetic hormones, which have weakened his bones and led to three hip surgeries.
“After my first hip surgery, I was frustrated. I want to walk and I can’t walk. So she had me do one of these,” Cade said.
Through it all, art has been Cade’s refuge. And his wish allowed him to be immersed in it.
“I went to Montmarte, which is the hill, the only hill in Paris. And it’s where artists gather to paint,” Cade said.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation also paired Cade up with Andrea Tana, an American artist living in Paris. They painted side-by-side in her apartment and she gave him some advice.
“You don’t paint what you see, you paint what you want to see. You almost make your own utopia. You make your own perfect world. What you want it to look like,” Cade said.
And even though Cade will have to manage his condition for the rest of his life, his experience has painted a brighter future.
“I just feel like Make-A-Wish has changed our lives forever by giving us this opportunity as a family. Nobody in our family will ever forget this,” Paige said.
Cade is one of many who benefit from Make a Wish Minnesota.