Stetson Bowen: Bingham’s New Star

Stetson Bowen is a four-year-old from South Jordan. He loves jamming out, playing football with his brothers, and spending time with his dog, Austen. His favorite song is “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake and his family calls him ‘the chicken whisperer’ because he’s the only one who can catch the chickens when they escape the coop.

Stetson is a wonderful, happy boy, but he lives a very different life than other kids his age. Like his brothers, he got frequent ear infections that began leading to doctor’s visits. Stetson had his blood tested and the results came back it was the day before Halloween two years ago. He had an aggressive form of leukemia, worsened by the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome in his DNA. This chromosome means that he needs a special form of chemotherapy and his chance of relapse is higher.

Stetson went in for his first chemotherapy the very next day, which happened to be Halloween. Instead of collecting candy, Stetson had to be held tight by his mother and two doctors to keep him still so he could receive countless shots and undergo various invasive surgeries.

Stetson has had to do this for two years, living in the hospital for a month at a time with a week break in between. He currently has an external port in his body that is linked to his bloodstream. It lets his mom give him shots 2-3 times a day of his chemotherapy medication so he can stay at home as long as he can.

Stetson is not the only boy like this. There are thousands of other kids in the Make-A-Wish foundation with similar or even worse conditions. When you participate in True Blue, that money not only makes Stetson’s wish come true, it helps other kids get their wish. Bingham is currently funding six families through Make-A-Wish, not to mention the other organizations we donate food and clothing to.

Yes, True Blue is a fun time of year, but it’s far more important because of the good you can do. Amanda Bowen, Stetson’s mom, has a completely different life than the one she did two years ago. She admits that this cancer has put a strain on her marriage and her family life. She barely saw her husband for many months. Even with all that, she looks on the bright side. “There’s a lot of bad in the world, but there’s also a lot of good,” Bowen says. “And we don’t often see the good.”

Bowen has many memories of pain, but she has many amazing stories as well. People have stepped up in little ways, like buying them fruit snacks at the grocery store, and in big ways, like doing 12 days of Christmas service. Bowen says that she hopes Stetson’s story will have a positive impact. “I want kids to realize how fortunate they are,” she says. “Everyone has their own stories and struggles. I hope kids will boost each other up.”

With True Blue coming to an end, options to help are decreasing. Take advantage of all the fun activities Bingham is putting on and the opportunity to make a difference at the same time. Squad Jobs is almost every night at the school. Students will go house to house looking for ways to serve the community. Nothing is too small or too ridiculous, even singing Christmas carols or scraping snow off a trampoline. You can also support your school and donate to charity by attending the Mr. True Blue pageant, the Candlelight concert night, and the True Blue Dance. All the money collected will go to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Don’t let anything hold you back from being a force for good.

Stetson and his family want to get to know the entire student body and be a part of the Bingham family. Bowen says that Stetson even asks her, “When can we go to Bingham to see my friends?” If we are going to be Stetson’s friends, then we need to support him. Don’t let the Bowen family or any of the other kids at Make-A-Wish down. Be a part of True Blue and no matter what that part is, you will change lives.