Teen's wish comes true
For 15-year-old Megan McManus of Fargo, her trip to Disney World today is bittersweet. Doctors diagnosed Megan with Stage 3 Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, last August.
For 15-year-old Megan McManus of Fargo, her trip to Disney World today is bittersweet.
Doctors diagnosed Megan with Stage 3 Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, last August. Her family is now facing her father Murray McManus' diagnosis two weeks ago of colon cancer.
The trip to Florida was her wish granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and she, along with her parents and two siblings, will spend the week exploring the Disney kingdoms, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
Megan's mother, Mary McManus, said a bump resembling a pimple appeared on Megan's face and was later diagnosed as melanoma.
"That was a shock when we thought it was just a pimple and then found out it wasn't," Mary said.
Dr. Nathan Kobrinsky, a pediatric oncologist and hematologist at MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center, treated Megan and said melanoma is a very serious cancer, but the tumor and lymph glands affected were removed.
After surgery, Megan underwent several treatments with side effects that kept her out of school.
"It was hard, but it was something I had to adjust to," Megan said.
Kobrinsky said Megan is a very mature young woman who never complained.
"She was just a trooper through all of it," he said.
After Megan's diagnosis, Murray said the family received information about making a wish, but shelved it away for months because he thought it was for children who were terminally ill.
"When they came to us, I turned white as a ghost because it wasn't something we wanted to face," he said.
Kobrinsky said the foundation originally focused on children who were dying.
"What we now recognize is this is more a celebration of life and really something to be proud of," he said.
Although Megan is excited to go to Disney World, it wasn't her first choice.
"I really wanted a car since I was going to be 16 when my treatment was done," she said.
Megan will celebrate her 16th birthday Tuesday, which she said will be perfect.
"If I stayed here, I would have to plan a big party and clean the house," she said. "This way I can just spend it in Disney World."
The theme park is the most common wish granted, said Sharon Mazaheri, Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Dakota president and CEO.
The family learned of Murray's cancer on May 12, the day of a fundraiser for Megan that brought in approximately 2,500 people. Murray had surgery the next day.
"It was definitely bittersweet because I was there to celebrate Megan being done and now we all have to go through something else," Murray said. "It made it really hard to celebrate."
The foundation will provide Murray with a scooter and special van during their trip so he can enjoy himself and continue recovering from his surgery, said Make-A-Wish volunteer Lisa Grafstrom.
"It will be a nice break from everything before we start all over again," Murray said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Kaiser at (701) 235-7311