POWHATAN, Va. -- Whether it’s dribbling a basketball in a game of one on none, or jumping for joy with his baby sister Corinna, Easton Welsh from Powhatan can bounce all day. Most importantly though, the eight-year-old boy knows how to bounce back.
"He always is the center of attention whether he likes it or not. He always finds his way there,” mother Jessica Welsh said. “He always keeps us on our toes. He is pretty awesome.”
Three years ago, Easton's parents Jessica and Justin recognized something was wrong.
“When he smiled only half his face moved. He had bells palsy. So we immediately went to the doctor,” Jessica said.
As Easton’s condition worsened, endless testing revealed the unthinkable.
On December 13, 2019, five-year-old Easton was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“It was the worst day of my life,” Jessica said.
“I immediately broke down. Sat down and kind of stopped,” Justin said.
Three days later, doctors at VCU Medical Center removed the tumor.
Just three days after surgery, his superhero alter ego Easton Beaston was discharged and sent home.
“He has been tough as nails. He rarely questions what is going on,” Justin said.
Ever so slowly, Easton started regaining his strength. The little boy was improving by the day.
“The chemo and everything he has been through has been to recharge his superhero powers and to make the superhero he has become even stronger,” Jessica said.
What helped fast track his recovery, the Make-a-Wish Foundation offered to grant Easton a wish.
During the pandemic, a trip to Disney was out of the question, but Easton had a back-up plan.
He wanted a hot tub.
“I went into it and it was really warm and I wanted one,” Easton said.
“His eyes lit up. He said this is what I want. He was 100% in,” Jessica said. “I remember his words. ‘Mom this is like a pool and a bathtub. It is amazing.”
The nonprofit granted Easton’s wish in February.
“It didn’t seem like a normal ask. This is the first time I had heard of a Make-a-Wish hot tub,” Justin said.
President and CEO of Make a Wish Greater Virginia Sheri Lambert said hot tubs were growing popular with young patients.
“During COVID, we’ve had a lot of unique wishes and we’ve been doing a lot more gift wishes,” Lambert said. “Many people think that kids only receive wishes if they are terminally ill. But we grant wishes to children with critical illnesses. Again. It is a turning point for them.”
Easton shared his watery wish with the entire family every chance he gets. Three years after his darkest days, doctors said the second grader was cancer free.
“Full speed still. I always tell him he has to slow down and his famous catchphrase is, ‘It’s OK mom, I have a plate in my head. It's OK,’” Jessica said.
“He is doing awesome. If you didn’t know his history you wouldn’t know,” Justin said.
Easton Welsh is a little boy who is bouncing back all while making a big splash.
“He is my hero every day," Jessica said.
Click here if you would like to support Make-a-Wish.
Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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