East Texas child with terminal cancer reaches fundraising goal, heading to Disney World

Local News

HENDERSON, Texas (KETK)- An 8-year-old East Texas boy’s dream is coming true with the help of his community.

Hayden Bolling has terminal cancer, and his family was hoping to take him to Disney World.

They set up a GoFundMe for their trip. Their goal was to raise $10,000 and they fundraised $11,595.

Make-A-Wish also said they would like to get in contact with Hayden to help grant him a wish.


HENDERSON, Texas (KETK) – Hayden Bolling is an 8-year-old boy with a form of brain cancer.

When he was 3-years-old, he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. After rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, Bolling was deemed in remission.

However, four years later Bolling’s cancer came back just a few months after his eighth birthday this year in March.

“It is determined that less than 5 percent of children who are diagnosed with medulloblastoma run the risk of developing a secondary type of brain tumor and unfortunately, he ended up in the category,” said Samantha Bolling, Hayden’s mother.

Health officials say there is no real treatment or cure available for Hayden’s illness. In the meantime, his parents are working hard to keep him happy and as comfortable as possible.

“We’re taking him to Disney World and if we can afterwards, we’d take him to see Nickelodeon and see other Nick Junior friends that he also loves. Just to get him to see things that he recognizes, be happy, and see that big smile on his face”, said James Bolling, Hayden’s father.

“We are just kind of limited on our time, so we are just trying to make the best of it by just making sure that he’s happy and doesn’t feel any different or different from his normal anyway,” said Samantha.

The Bolling family has already raised $7,400 out of $10,000 on their GoFundMe page.

“It’s really overwhelming, but it’s something that we will never forget. Especially for him, and we are just thankful that everybody has come together,” added Samantha.

If our East Texas community is interested in helping out the Bolling Family achieve this goal, you can donate to their GoFundMe, here.

The boy’s father also said the family tried to get their son’s wish granted by Make-A-Wish.

“However, M.A.W. is not granting Disney type wishes to kids who aren’t vaccinated. They are also super back logged with wishes as well. That means it could be well over a year before we could get Hayden’s wish granted. Especially, since he’s not eligible for a vaccine yet,” said James.

Make-A-Wish released the following statement after hearing about Hayden’s story.

“At Make-A-Wish, our mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses – many of whom consider the wish an important part of the healing process, helping them manage, and even overcome, their illnesses. We strive to bring the lasting hope and joy that come with a wish to all of the children we serve while keeping health and safety a priority. In consultation with the Make-A-Wish National Medical Advisory Council and more than 50 chapter-specific medical advisors, Make-A-Wish America has decided to lift the restrictions on wishes involving air travel and large gatherings for the wish families at the lowest risk, those who are fully vaccinated. As we always do with every wish, we will still require sign-off that the wish is safe and appropriate from each child’s treating physician who is intimately familiar with the child’s particular health circumstances. This decision represents an expansion of the types of wishes we can offer since air travel and large gatherings have been on hold since the start of the pandemic. We look forward to the day when medical experts advise that we can lift the remaining restrictions.

We will still continue to grant all of the other types of wishes we are currently granting to all wish kids regardless of vaccination status, including road trips to national parks, virtual celebrity meetings, outdoor playhouses, shopping sprees, staycations, wishes for pets, computers, room redecorations and many more. We understand that there are many families whose children aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet, and we also know that there are families who are choosing not to get the vaccine. We respect everyone’s freedom of choice. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 12,200 wishes, and we remain committed to granting more life-changing wishes on a daily basis for wish kids and their families whether they have been vaccinated or not.

Make-A-Wish North Texas would be happy to work with Hayden’s family to identify a wish that can be safely granted right now. In the case of children with an end-of-life prognosis, the above vaccination policy does not apply, so if the family’s medical team feels that the child’s health has escalated to the point where he meets that criteria, they can reach out to us to update their status so that we can discuss a quick turn wish.”

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