Local Teen Beats Cancer, Gets Wish Granted
The holiday season was made much brighter today for a Four State teenager and his family. A shopping spree for a young man who’s battled cancer courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Kurt Swaim says music saved his life.
“When I was in the hospital I would spend hours upon hours practicing the guitar,” says the 17 year old.
Now he’ll get to practice on a brand new guitar. A year and a half ago, his family didn’t think they’d get to see this day.
“He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and it was kind of a bad day for us because we thought he was going to die,” says his father Michael Swaim.
He spent almost a year in the hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments.
“I could not sleep there. There were cries all over the place, it was heartbreaking,” Kurt says of the pediatric unit in Kansas City.
The one thing that kept his mind off of being sick, teaching himself to play guitar, and then teaching his younger sister Brianna, too.
“There was one point at the hospital where he said, his exact words were, I don’t want to do this anymore. He gave up. And I think him playing the guitar and learning music really perked him up and made him stronger,” says Michael.
Kurt is now cancer free and celebrating like a rock star with a shopping spree thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“For every dollar that’s donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, 80.1% of those donated proceeds go directly to wish granting. So for shopping sprees, that’s a really great wish especially for someone that’s Kurt’s age,” says Jennifer McKeough with Make-A-Wish Missouri.
Kurt chose to go to Ernie Williamson Music, Vintage Stock and Walmart in Joplin. But the day wasn’t just about getting himself a new guitar and video games, he made sure everyone in his family got something, including new guitars for his dad and sister.
“I want everybody to be happy on this day. I’m not the only that helped me survive cancer, it was my whole family,” says Kurt.
Kurt works at Granny Schaffer’s, it’s where the family ate dinner tonight. He also hopes to pursue a career in music.