Arizona teen battling cancer heading to Hawaii, thanks to Make-A-Wish

PHOENIX - Jackson Bickler loves soccer. He plays center for the Corona Del Sol High School soccer team.

It was one year ago while he was on the field that Jackson realized something was wrong.

"I started feeling some pain in my groin and I just normally thought it was like a pulled groin type pain, so I didn’t really know how to treat it, so I just kind of sat out for two weeks on the bench," he said.

He sat out, he stretched, he iced, but the pain didn't go away – it spread.

"I started feeling pain in my back and like my ribs area, so that just didn't feel good," he said.

Abby Bickler says the news was devastating – her son had cancer.

"Further testing and marrow biopsies show that he has metastatic alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, and it had spread everywhere," she said.

<div>Abby Bickler</div>
Abby Bickler

"I was in shock, like everything stopped, and I was like, OK, let’s take a step back. Let’s let me do what I need to do for this. I’ll do whatever I need. Let’s get this over with," Jackson said.

At that moment, Jackson entered the fight for his life.

"They came when he started chemo, and he was losing his hair, and they all shaved their heads in solidarity – his brothers shaved their heads, I shave my head, but just throughout it all, coming to the hospital, visiting him at the hospital, bringing pizza, you know, just getting together with him at night after they find out that he relapsed, you know, coming to the hospital, picking them up, you know, coming over picking them up going out to wherever – my friends' houses and things like, that just helping him get his mind off of it and stay positive," said Jackson's dad.

<div>Jackson Bickler and his family</div>
Jackson Bickler and his family

This June, Jackson, his mom, dad and three siblings are going to Hawaii – a wish come true.

"It’s just beaches and islands and yeah, I just think it’s gonna be life-changing, it’s gonna be a core memory for me and it’ll be so much fun," Jackson said.

Jessica Haag, a spokesperson for Make-A-Wish, says a wish costs $10,000 to grant. The non-profit doesn't receive grants or funding. Instead, it relies solely on community support.

"So really it's important for us to be able to spread that strength, that joy that a wish can provide and studies have even shown that it improves just the outlook, the way that they feel towards treatment it helps them comply and have something to look forward to," she said.

"It'll definitely be a big break, and I'm looking forward to it for sure," said Jackson. "It's going to be another vacation, but more fun because it's in Hawaii"

As Jackson was finishing his last treatment a few months ago, his mom said doctors told them the cancer was back. The fight is not quite over, but Jackson knows he will win.

"I basically just saw this cancer being relapsed as round two, like the boxing ring, like, ding ding, here we go," he said.

Jackson Bickler GoFundMe