Traverse City School Celebrates Student With Cancer Before Make-A-Wish Trip

A Traverse Heights Elementary School room was full of excitement Wednesday afternoon, all in honor of a very special classmate.

10-year-old Evan Matusik was diagnosed with brain cancer in June 2015.

Doctors removed the tumor a month later, but in October the cancer came back.

This weekend he’s heading down state with his family for a Make-A-Wish trip to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and Sea Life Aquarium.

Before he leaves, his friends wanted to give him the proper send-off.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson take us to his pink-themed LEGO party.

“This made me tear up. I was like oh look at this, they’re all pink!”

Fourth and fifth graders at Traverse Heights Elementary School took a break Wednesday afternoon to welcome back their friend Evan Matusik.

“Because we get to spend time with someone we haven’t seen in a couple months,” says Jaden Clark.

Evan hasn’t been in school since before Christmas break.

“It’s hard at the young age to tell them one of their friends is dying,” says Evan’s mom, Andrea Matusik.

Evan has an inoperable brain tumor.

Last month, doctors gave him six months to live.

“I know that it’s hard to tell the young ones what’s really happening. That he’s probably not going to make it through the next couple months. I know they haven’t really said anything to them to that effect,” Andrea says. “One of his little girlfriends asked if he was going to be okay and I don’t know how to answer that to her.”

But Wednesday, Evan’s cancer didn’t stop him from having fun with his friends again.

“He’s got all the little girls in the room right now ringing around him. He’s a real ladies man. So that’s what they’re doing right now. They’re just celebrating that he can come and see them,” says Andrea.

The classroom was full of Evan’s favorite things, the color pink and Legos.

“I’m not a pink person. I wore pink for Evan,” says Jasmin Jackson.

“We’re actually going to give him some of the decorations. We made these hearts for him and then he’s going to bring them to his house or everywhere he’s staying and he’s going to hang them up in his room,” Jaden says.

And his friends all have some words of hope for him…

“That he starts to feel better so he’s not all awful when he goes on his trip, and that he has a blast,” Jaden says.

“That he can get up and walk more because right now he’s in a wheelchair,” Alivia Proffitt says.

“Hope that he has fun,” Jasmin says.

“It means a lot. I want him to be happy. I want his last days to be happy, or last months, whatever he has,” Andrea says.

Traverse Heights Elementary School is also planning on hosting a Mom to Mom Sale to support the Matusik’s on March 4 from 9-2.