6-year-old battling bone cancer gets his wish to be National Guard pilot

6-year-old Korbyn visits Selfridge Air National Guard Base with Make-A-Wish Foundation

Don’t let his small size fool you, Mccowen said her son is one of the strongest, especially after fight bone cancer the last eight months.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – One West Michigan boy wants to be in the National Guard and the Make-A-Wish Foundation Michigan sped up the process. They brought 6-year-old Korbyn to Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township.

“He’s pretty strong,” Toni Mccowen, Korbyn’s mom, said.

Don’t let his small size fool you, Mccowen said her son is one of the strongest, especially after fighting bone cancer the last eight months.

“Chemo was pretty rough at first but the more we went along the better he got,” she said.

It’s no surprise her, what she described as strong-willed, son wished he could be a member of the National Guard. Make-A-Wish Foundation accelerated that dream to happen this Friday. As the big day got closer, Korbyn’s anticipation continued to build.

“He’s been reciting conversations he was gonna have with the army guys and he’s been playing with lots of army toys, he’s gotten as gifts,” said Mccowen.

But Korbyn’s not the only one who was counting down the days.

“Oh my gosh! When I heard Korbyn wanted his Make-A-Wish event to be a pilot for a day ... Oh my gosh. It just about brought tears to my eyes. I’m like, ‘holy cow,’” First Lieutenant Shane Bilek said.

He watched his dad fly planes growing up and had the same dream as Korbyn. To be the same person for Korbyn years later is an experience he believes does not compare to any other experience.

“Everybody that wears this uniform will tell you that they got lucky somehow, one way or another and to be able to show Korbyn and share it with him, with everybody, but let alone a 6-year-old that went through the trials and tribulations that he did. It’s just so cool,” Bilek said.

From gearing up, flying planes and snapping some photos of his own, the day full of events is something Korbyn and his family will never forget.

“I don’t think he’ll take off the uniform or the helmet he got. He might even sleep in it,” his mom said.

With only few treatments left, this wish come true is the boost and reward Korbyn needs to finish his fight.

“A bigger reward than I could have given him,” Mccowen said.

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About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.