How a 5-year-old with Leukemia took on new heights with the help of Make-A-Wish

 Courtesy Sean and Joyce Robbins
Courtesy Sean and Joyce Robbins (KTUU)
Published: Apr. 26, 2019 at 7:59 AM AKDT
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For a child, riding on a plane can be a magical experience, and for one little boy, getting to become a pilot for a day was even more special.

"He had always had a fascination with airplanes. He would always want to go someplace here in Anchorage and watch them take off and land," says Ian Robbins' dad Sean.

Ian's parents say Ian was a funny, adventurous, typical five-year-old, and getting a wish from Make-a-Wish, was just the thing he needed after a long battle with leukemia.

Ian was only three years old when his parents found out he had leukemia.

"He was diagnosed with AML or Acute Myeloid Leukemia," Sean said. "You don't want any Leukemias, but that is one of the ones with a lower survival rate."

During Ian's treatment, Sean and Ian's mom Joyce learned about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and knew that a 'To Be' wish was the perfect way to help Ian fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot.

"They absolutely rolled out the red carpet. They took us out on the flight line, he got to run around on the flight line fire truck and was spraying water all over the place, and we got in the flight simulators," Sean said. "The whole group just went above and beyond."

When Ian's health began to decline following a bone marrow transplant, his parents decided to do something extraordinary for their son.

"He loved airplanes, but like most kids, he also loved Halloween," Sean said. "So since it wasn't sure that he was going to make it that far to October 31st, I thought maybe this summer we can bring Halloween to him."

That's how the 15-year tradition of Trick or Treat in the Heat started, as a way to bring Halloween to a young child and then to continue his legacy.

"Our goal was just to get a couple of dozen houses in our neighborhood to participate and get some kids out and just do this one little event so we pulled this thing together in like 3 days and it just took on a life of its own," Sean said.

It was all thanks to an idea sparked by Make-A-Wish. The Robbins' say it's an organization anyone can give to and it is a life-changing gift.

"Services in kind, miles, it all adds up and can transform somebody's dark chapter of their life," Joyce Robbins said.

In the years since Ian’s passing, Trick or Treat in the Heat has raised over $460,000 for three organizations that helped the Robbins, including Make-A-Wish. Last year, they hosted more than 5,000 kids in communities from Anchorage to Valdez.

If you want to help kids like Ian, you can donate your airlines miles to our Two Million Mile Challenge.


to donate air miles to Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington as part of Channel 2's 2 Million Mile Challenge.

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