HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS) — Senior year for many students is a time to plan for their future. But for 18-year-old, Ethan Conley, his college plans were put on pause after being diagnosed with cancer.
But through his time in the hospital, a glimmer of home came after a wish of his was granted. He received a letter from one of the most well-known men in the world.
“Ethan you are not alone in this fight,” Ethan read aloud from the letter.
This letter was part of his wish through Nik’s Wish Foundation. It’s an organization for young adults 18 to 24 who have cancer.
Ethan was diagnosed with Lymphoma this past summer, after graduating from high school.
“There was a swelling on the side of my head and it was one of my lymph nodes. There was residual swelling from the actual tumor,” Ethan said.
During a time when he had his whole life ahead of him, Ethan got the news that he’d have to fight for his life.
“They awarded me a 50% scholarship to Central Michigan only to learn later that they’d given me a full tuition scholarship. It kind of all just unraveled in a matter of two weeks when I got diagnosed,” he said.
Ethan went from a healthy young man, ready to play in CMU’s marching band, to a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy and spending most of his days in the hospital.
“All my friends are getting off going into the world having all these opportunities starting marching band starting classes. I was just kind of stuck in hospital beds while everyone else went out and did things,” Ethan said.
But during his time in the hospital, Ethan received a gift he’d never forget. He was able to make a wish through Nik’s Wish Foundation.
“I wanted to do something that really few people had done and maybe an opportunity I would never get again,” Ethan said.
Which brings us back to his letter. The writer of the letter?
“Keep the faith… Joe Biden,” Ethan read.
It was President of the United States Joe Biden.
“A package to your house and the return address is the white house. It was breathtaking,” Ethan said.
Ethan’s wish was to meet the president. While that hasn’t happened yet, a personal letter was the next best thing.
“It was very heart felt. I went to I smelled the ink and it looked like he actually signed it,” Ethan said.
But his wish doesn’t stop there. Nik’s Wish Foundation is sending him and his family to the nations capital this year.
“I think DC is gonna be an awesome trip for me because its just all museums and monuments and its our history,” Ethan said.
Ethan still hopes to one day meet the president, but until then he has this message for the commander in chief.
“First off thank you for taking time out of your day. This letter really brought me from a pretty low place to really where I am today,” Ethan said.
Ethan is currently cancer free and his college plans are back on. He’ll be attending Central Michigan University in the Fall, and will be playing in their marching band.
His message to others is to celebrate the small things and to never lose hope.
“Just remember that there’s always something on the other side waiting. There’s gonna be days where things seem hopeless but really in the end it will all resolve itself,” Ethan said.
If you’d like to support or volunteer Nik’s Wish Foundation click the link here.