Alec's Story: My Wish Determined My Future
When Alec Slater hits the slopes, there is no greater feeling than the speed and adventure that follows. “I live and breathe skiing.”
The 25-year-old now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but he grew up in Rochester, New York. Ironically, he was doing what he loved - skiing - when the first signs of a health crisis appeared ten years ago. “My family had traveled to Colorado to go skiing but once I hit elevation I couldn’t breathe,” he recalls. “I had body aches and was in a lot of pain.”
An orthopedic doctor back home performed a blood test, revealing the worst news – Alec had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was 15 years old. He received his first round of chemo right away and endured 30 rounds in total over a span of three years.
Alec said the physical toll of cancer was rough, but the mental impact was devastating. From missing school and his friends, to spending day after day limited to the four walls of his hospital room, he said hope came in the form of a wish.
Tapping into his passion for skiing, Alec’s wish was to go heliskiing in British Columbia. What is heliskiing? “You take a helicopter ride to the top of the mountain and utilize a guide to ski down the mountain,” he explains. “My wish granters were so blown away by my wish request. It was a whole chain of events, but they so generously made it happen.”
Alec’s wish opened his eyes to where and how he wanted to live his life. He said it brought him home.
“That wish, quite literally, determined my future. It set the tone as to how I want to live my life. I not only moved out west, but I became a ski instructor and now revolve my life around the great outdoors.”
Alec’s life-changing wish transformed his experience of his illness. “A wish is the biggest source of hope. It allows wish kids to take a step back during the hardest part of their lives and gives them freedom to imagine, dream and heal.”
Today, Alec is in remission and feeling well. He said one of the most powerful moments of his life was his way up the mountain for the first time during this wish. “We dropped out of the sky in the helicopter, and I thought to myself –wow…I am so far out, and I am living life to the fullest. This is awesome and there really is nothing like it.”