Nearly three years ago, Ethan Chartier underwent open-heart surgery to correct a condition called transverse aortic coarctation — a narrowing of the artery.
“It was the scariest thing and yet the most amazing thing that he overcame it,” recalled his mom, Teresa Wright.
“It was super hard, but also amazing.”
“As a parent, you forget how strong your kids are, how much they have to go through.”
Ethan’s father, Christian Chartier, remembers walking in to see his son after the five-hour surgery, but having to turn and walk out again.
“One of the biggest memories I have is walking in there and seeing him and having to turn around because I couldn’t see him like that in pain,” he said.
“I wanted to see him as a strong parent, but I couldn’t be that (for him) that day.”
But children can be strong and resilient, and Chartier was recognized for his courage with an early birthday present on Friday (June 16).
Less than a week before he turns 14 on June 22 Chartier, who is just finishing Grade 8 at Yorkson Creek Middle School, was the recipient of a wish through Make-A-Wish BC &Yukon.
Chartier’s wish was for new computer and gaming equipment.
‘Wish granter’ Danny Baker dropped the gear off at Ethan’s house in Clayton Heights and, as an added bonus, Baker took Chartier and his mom via limo to the Electronic Arts (EA) studio in Burnaby for a private tour. Unbeknownst to Chartier or his parents, there was more to the wish. The Best Buy Geek Squad soon arrived to help set up the computer and gaming system.
He was also named a honorary member of the Geek Squad, complete with uniform and badge.
‘Agent Q’ told the teen that to earn the badge, agents need to display courage to earn the honour.
“And that is one thing we have heard you are amazing at,” the agent said.
Chartier was at a loss for words.
“I was pretty surprised,” he said, admitting he only had about two hours of sleep the night before in anticipation of the big day.
The wish has been three years in the making, with Chartier trying to decide what exactly he wanted. A cruise was one possibility, while meeting someone famous was another.
Ultimately, he came up with the idea of something that would last longer than just his memories: some computer and gaming equipment.
“Just getting the wish granted was the most amazing thing, to see him smile and brighten his day,” Wright said.
“He is a trooper — what he went through and overcame is amazing.”
To be granted a wish, a child must be between the ages of 3 and 17 with life-threatening medical conditions.
Since 1983, more than 6,200 wishes have been granted in Canada with almost 2,000 of those in B.C. and the Yukon.