Wyoming boy battling cancer surprised by skating rink

Keegan started skating at age 3, months before he was diagnosed with leukemia. Her mother knew exactly what Make a Wish Michigan had to do.

WYOMING, Michigan — A Wyoming boy got his wish granted Friday afternoon after he was surprised with a celebration — and a skating rink in his backyard.

Seven-year-old Keegan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in November 2018. He is due to complete treatment at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in April this year.

Keegan’s mother, Raeann Elliott, said her symptoms started out as a normal illness.

“It was fever and an ear infection. But the antibiotics weren’t helping,” she said.

Keegan was taken to the pediatrician after three days of not feeling well, then was taken to the emergency room for evaluation.

“Essentially the ER doctor who came in knew something was wrong,” Elliott said. “And we knew in three hours, four hours that it was leukemia.”

Despite all the changes to come to Keegan, her love of skating has always been a constant. Elliott said he started skating at age 3, a few months before his diagnosis.

While his treatment meant he couldn’t skate regularly, Elliott says it’s still his favorite activity.

“It’s everyday that he gets off the bus and wants to go skating,” she said. “He wants to work on some stickhandling, you know, and some days I have to tell him no because we have to go to hockey or we have some other activity we’re going to, but he’ll be here until he it gets dark and we have to hold it off.”

So when it came time to choose a wish for Make a Wish Michigan, Elliott knew exactly what Keegan wanted: a skating rink in his own backyard.

When Keegan got off the school bus on Friday afternoon, he was surprised by the Grand Rapids Griffins mascot, Griff. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to open the backyard rink, and Keegan enjoyed an afternoon of skating.

For Elliott, surprising Keegan with his wish was worth it to see his reaction.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. The smile on that guy’s face that we see… It doesn’t make the journey any easier, but it’s a reward for what he’s been through,” she said. “So just thank you.”

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