Make-A-Wish Connecticut: Torrington teen heading to Hawaii for vacation

TORRINGTON -- Brian Basseler had his world turned upside down one year ago.  After suddenly experiencing extreme pain in his legs and debilitating backaches, Brian was diagnosed with leukemia.

He quickly started treatment --six months of aggressive chemo followed by two months of recovery.

Brian was healthy enough to get back to baseball training for the Torrington High school team.

The pitcher got strong enough to get back on the field and to Dunkin Donuts part in Hartford to throw out the first pitch for the Hartford Yard Goats.  The celebration also included the news that he and his family were going on a Hawaiian vacation, thanks to Make-A- Wish Connecticut.

“Scuba was really cool, and surfing was awesome. To have that feeling of weightlessness, riding a wave -- I didn’t think I’d be able to get up," Brian said.

His mother adds it was a trip they all needed.

“It was wonderful seeing him healthy and interact with his friend and have a good time," she said. "It’s a trip that we probably would have never been able to do as a family and it was just wonderful.”

The airfare for Brian’s wish was donated by Aetna.  The insurance company has donated more than 3 million air miles to grant wishes, through their “Wishes in Flight” campaign.  They also donated 20 round trips for travel wishes this year.

“This is more than just putting our money where our mouth is, this is really putting our community into action,” says Dr Lori Stetz the Senior Medical director with Aetna.