Posted: Nov 19, 2012 8:50 PM by Victoria Fregoso-Q2 News
BILLINGS-It was red carpet treatment Monday morning for 18-year-old Jon Michael Northington of Mississippi. Thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation, Jon Michael traveled to Billings to fulfill his wish of shopping at Cabelas. "Me and daddy rode motorcycles in Sturgis South Dakota July 28th. And I love it out west. This was kind of one of the first things I was looking at on the map and it just kind of popped in my head, so I chose it."
With his mom, dad, sister and best friend by his side, Jon Michael had 6 hours to stock up on nearly $2,000 in merchandise. "The first thing he went to was the duck calls and the goose call counter. So they spent some time over there quacking and having fun," said Cabela's Retail Marketing Manager Cody Cass.
Jon Michael appears to be healthy but it was just over a year ago he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. So rare, he is one of four people in the nation to have this type of cancer. "He's been through a really rough year," said Jon Michael's mother Debra. "And for you all to take the time to do this has just been pretty emotional for us."
After undergoing brain surgery and receiving a year's worth of chemo therapy within four months, Jon Michael constantly visits the doctor to make sure the cancer doesn't come back. His mother says the greatest reward was seeing her son's wish come true. "That's what it's all about," Debra said with tears in her eyes. "I mean, this whole trip was just...For him to see, life come back in his face, it was just, it was great."
Jon Michael's day wasn't only about shopping, he also took part in one of Cabela's main attractions- feeding the fish. "Knowing we were able to really identify his true wish and you can tell that," said Make a Wish State Manager Heather Ohs. "Mom's smiling, Jon Michael is smiling, everyone here is really enjoying themselves, so we feel it's a wish come true."
Jon Michael also wanted to make sure he gave back. So this past July, when he took a motorcycle trip with his father to Sturgis South Dakota. They raised a penny for every mile traveled and then were able to donate more than $16,000 to the Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital.