Colby Schrenk has wish granted to go to Walt Disney World

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May 3—JAMESTOWN — When Ypsilanti native Colby Schrenk was asked what he wanted his wish to be through the Make-A-Wish North Dakota, his answer was easy: to go to Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The 8-year-old learned his wish was being granted on Wednesday, May 1, in the Nelson Family Bubble at the University of Jamestown campus, surrounded by family and friends, including multiple current and former Jamestown High School football players. One of those players was Jackson Walters, who said he has grown close to the family thanks to his relationship with Colby's father and Blue Jays linebackers coach Tyler Schrenk. As soon as Colby saw Walters, he sprinted into his arms.

"He's a really cool kid just in general," Walters said. "So for him to do that out of everyone that was there, it meant a lot to me, enjoys me that much that he wanted to come say 'hi' and give me a hug. So that means a lot."

There was a lot of behind-the-scenes planning for the event. Tyler said he had to trick Colby and son Zach to keep the surprise.

"He got to pick his wish but he didn't know anything about what was taking place today," Tyler said. "We worked with Coach (Bill) Nelson, Coach (Brian) Mistro, Make-A-Wish, they got it set up. I told him that they were coming to watch some throwing with the high school team, some off-season throwing. So they had no idea."

Before he walked into the Nelson Family Bubble, Colby read a letter informing him that his wish was being granted and he was going to go to Walt Disney World. Tyler said it means a lot to him to see his son's wish granted and the support for his entire family.

"It means a lot to me," Colby said. "I've been waiting for this my whole life."

Colby said he went into the hospital for the first time on Jan. 31, 2023. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a disease that impacts a person's white and red blood cell count.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acute myeloid leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal blood cells.

Colby said the fight became easier once he stopped having to receive injections and IVs put into his arms.

"When I got to take a three-day break from the hospital, I got to see my friends at school, some of them had to blink twice to believe it," Colby said. "So my brother's in fifth grade, we go to the same school and as soon as they announced that I was coming back to school, you could probably hear them all the way from the kindergarten."

Colby's doctors officially told the family that Colby was in remission in February 2024.

"It feels great to be out of the hospital," Colby Schrenk said. "I love it. I want to go to Disney World."

The second grader said he has enjoyed being able to see his friends again and start going back to school.

Blue Jays head coach Bill Nelson said Tyler told him about the planned Wish event and then Make-A-Wish wish coordinator Hailee DeLaurier reached out to him to put together a more solid plan. Nelson said Colby asked for the Jimmies and Blue Jays to come to the event. Through his friendship with Tyler, Nelson said he has known Colby since he was a baby.

"Tyler's been with me seven years coaching and Colby spends a lot of time at practice, a lot of time in the locker room, a lot of time on the sidelines," Nelson said.

After DeLaurier reached out, Nelson said he spoke to Jimmies head coach Brian Mistro about whether the Bubble would be available. Nelson said the event took place there to try to hide the secret more easily than if it was at Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium.

Tyler said when they get to the theme park in the middle of May, it will be the first time that any of their family have been there.

"I'm really excited," Tyler said. "The opportunity to go with the kids is special, everything that surrounds the whole Disney and Make-A-Wish, it's gonna be really special for all of us."

Colby said he is looking forward to meeting Mickey Mouse in person.

"I've had one of his stuffed animals since I was a baby," Colby said. "He's my favorite Disney character."

Colby said he has not started to research the rides and attractions in the park because he wants it to be a surprise when he gets there.

"It's gonna be a lot for me," Colby said. "I haven't done something this exciting since 2023, January 31st."

DeLaurier said she has put together a busy schedule for the Schrenk family.

"We have a great place called Give Kids the World down in Florida that works with us for all of our Disney World wishes," DeLaurier said. "It's this great place that only Wish kids and their families get to go and stay there. So they're great partners. We partner with Disney World and they get tickets and everything to go to Disney and Universal Studios and Sea World, so he's got a jam-packed itinerary ready to go for him."

DeLaurier said Colby and his family were referred to the organization by one of his doctors.

After Wednesday's event ended, Colby spent time running around the Bubble, playing football with his brother, Zach, and the assembled Blue Jays. Colby said it meant a lot to him that the Blue Jays were there because he missed them.

"It means a lot to me," Colby said. "I love them so much. They won two state champions in a row."

Colby said his advice for other kids fighting cancer is to stay positive.

"Good luck you guys, hope you fight it," Colby said. "I hope you fight, win cancer like I did. I'm a superhero. You could be too, if you fight cancer too. I bet your friends will be really happy if you fight cancer, got it over with it and got to go back to school like I did."