HESSTON — The second time was a the charm Monday for the Vela family — as the first time they tried to go to Dan's Cycle near Hesston son Eli wasn't feeling well. He was taken to the hospital as a result.
Monday the Make-A-Wish Foundation made 2-year-old Eli's wish come true — handing he and his family the keys to a four-wheel off-road vehicle, a Kawasaki Mule, at Dan's Cycle of Hesston.
“We live in the country,” said Orlando Vela, Eli’s father. “For them to this … we can ride around and have a lot of fun with this.”
They actually live just down the road from Dan’s Cycle in rural Hesston.
Eli and his family used to walk past Dan’s Cycle, and when they did, Eli would want to sit in the seats of the vehicles. He fantasized about riding and driving on the motorcycles, mowers and off-road carts he saw.
He could have asked for a trip to Disneyland, a family vacation or to meet a celebrity. According to Make-A-Wish, riding around with his dad in a four-wheeler was the only wish they could get from him.
“This is a wish come true for him,” Crystal Vela said.
About a year ago what looked like a small red mark on two-year-old Eli Vela's face, possibly a spider bite, appeared. Antibiotics seemed to stop it from spreading. But when he continued not feeling well, his family took him to the emergency room for more testing.
They learned what was there was much more concerning, and rare, than a run-of-the-mill spider bit. Eli was diagnosed with acute lymphoblast leukemia.
He is in the middle of a three-year treatment plan. This week he will undergo a spinal tap and a three-hour chemotherapy session. He has one more of those sessions left before starting “maintenance therapy.”
“He is responding to treatment well,” Crystal Vela said. “… He has to go through treatment that long to keep it in remission.”
His now has something to look forward to after those treatment sessions — a Kawasaki Mule he can ride on with his family.
“He loves tractors, motorcycles and those kinds of things,” said his mother, Crystal Vela.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Dan’s Cycle and Kawasaki paid for the Mule.