Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina is proud to announce that we have been granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses for 30 years! We want to continue the journey by telling you about Cainan, an extraordinary young man who wished to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr.
After going through treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for three and a half years, Cainan was finally ready to have his wish come true. He knew right away that he wanted to meet his favorite NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Junior. For him the thought of meeting Dale Jr. gave him happy thoughts and something to look forward to during his treatments.
Before the wish, Cainan had heard tales that Dale was shy, so he decided to come up with questions and things to talk about. Now, Cainan has a sense of humor so when he saw a commercial where Dale trades a diet Mountain Dew for his racecar he had to give it a try. As soon as Cainan saw Dale Jr. coming toward him he pulled out the soda and said “I have seen this commercial. Should we go back to the garage now or later?” This was the perfect icebreaker and from there on they had a blast hanging out and talking.
His wish day was filled with surprises, excitement and all things NASCAR. His pit road passes got him direct access to meet other drivers and their teams. Cainan and his family even ran into some Carolina Panthers players, who took the time to stop and chat. Dale wanted to make sure the day was memorable for Cainan, so he made sure Cainan left with a collection of die cast cars, medallions, autographs and a piece of tire from Dale’s first win with the Hendrick driving team.
Cainan is now twelve-years-old and has been in remission for the past year. He gets to do all of the things that other kids his age get to do and no longer has to miss out because he doesn’t feel well or because of treatment. Cainan even gets to play football now, his favorite sport that was taken away during his intense treatment. Getting to meet Dale Jr. gave Cainan, what he says was, one of the best memories he has and he loves the feeling of being able to say “I met him!” whenever he sees his favorite driver on TV.
Cainan and his family are heavily involved with the Make-A-Wish® Walk For Wishes® in Asheville. He and his team, “HE Heals,” were one of the most active fundraisers for the walk. To date, they have raised over $15,000 to help grant the wishes of other children in our community. Their mission to pay it forward is inspiring. We’re thankful for their hard work and generosity!