MHS student receives man cave from Make-A-Wish Oklahoma
A Mustang High School student recently received his wish from Make-A-Wish® Oklahoma.
Gavin Peterman got to ring the bell at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center to celebrate his new cancer-free life in July.
“Ring the bell three times and it was exciting everybody came,” Gavin said in July. “Almost everybody was there. It was kind of an exciting day.”
Gavin Peterman was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system particularly the B cells, the day after Thanksgiving last year.
The family spent more time at the hospital than at home, and didn’t get to spend even three days at home until March. Gavin had to go through seven days of chemotherapy every 21 days, and always had to spend at least another seven days recovering before he could potentially head home.
Kiyana Dan, Peterman’s volunteer and Wish Coordinator, began working with him in April right after Easter.
“It’s been wonderful. They’re such a sweet family and Gavin is just the nicest kid ever—he’s goofy and silly and so fun and everything,” Dan said. “It’s been so fun getting to know them while we worked on granting Gavin’s wish.”
Peterman’s mom Dawn Ice said Peterman didn’t want anything other children usually want because he has been diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder and has a hard time with people and loud noise.
“He didn’t want to go to Disney Land, Disney World, he didn’t want anything like that,” Ice said.
Make-A-Wish® Oklahoma made Peterman a man cave in the backyard so he can have his own space and do his own thing.
“We started formulated ideas probably around May and then June. It just kind of took some time to get all the contractors together and stuff like that so it’s been kind of in the works this whole time,” Dan said. “It just came together last Friday so it was really wonderful.”
Ice said Make-A-Wish put up the shell about two or three weeks ago so they kept the curtains closed so he wouldn’t see it in the backyard.
He then was at his grandparents’ house while Make-A-Wish did the finishing touches and could be surprised.
“I said ‘Do you remember what you wished for?’ and he said ‘Oh, a backyard man cave’ so I said ‘well guess what’s in your backyard right now,’” Dan said. “So he walks around the corner and his eyes just kind of lit up.
“I think that people think of ‘oh a little backyard area or something,’ they don’t think about what Make-A-Wish does or what we can do.”
The man cave is a Tuff Shed brand shed that is 10-by-10 or 100 square feet. It’s fully insolated with sheet rock.
“The whole nine yards so I think he was really surprised,” Dan said. “Just the smile on his face when he turned that corner was fantastic.”
Make-A-Wish doesn’t typically do any electrical but they did electrical in the man cave. They put his Nintendo Wii in there and the electrician donated a television and their electrical services.
Gavin can spend time in his man cave and be able to play his video games and watch his YouTube videos, which are both Peterman’s favorite things to do. His favorite video games are Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart, which he said he played as a child on Nintendo 64 and now plays on Nintendo Wii.
Make-A-Wish also put in a book shelf and other furniture to make it feel homier.
Ice said he’s spent a lot of time in the man cave since getting it.
“He gets up every day and says ‘I’m going to the man cave,’” she said.
She added that the neighbors bought him a mini refrigerator so he also has his Mountain Dew.
“He’s absolutely loving it,” Ice said. “He’s got his own key and his own key chain and he just loves that. We have a spare, but we knock on the door and give him that respect. It’s better than any Make-A-Wish that he could’ve picked.
“He’s special needs already and he’s going to have to be at home with mom and dad. That gives him a spot where he can go out and be a young adult in his spot.”
Ice said since becoming cancer-free this summer, Peterman has been feeling great. He goes in for monthly visits and recently had his six month check-up and everything looks good.
“When he talks he says ‘before cancer’ and ‘after cancer,’” Ice said. “He used to be scared of dying, but he says he’s not scared of dying anymore. He’s just scared of how he dies. All that big scare was taken away and he realizes when he goes to Heaven he’ll be able to see everybody he met at Children’s who died.”
Dan and Ice wanted to show their appreciation for everyone who helped with Peterman’s wish.
“Thank you to the community for supporting Gavin in this tough time and their whole family. We also want to say thank you so much to Home Depot,” Dan said. “I can’t think of the electrician’s name right now but he did a lot of work for us so we’d also like to extend a thank you to them. Without them his wish wouldn’t have been possible.”
Ice said she also wants to thank God and everyone who gave their prayers because that’s what pulled him through and made the wish possible.