FERNDALE - For one day in February 2013, Adaeus Wilson-Premo's little brother was a bonafide star. A red-carpet-strutting, stretch-limo-riding, girls-screaming-your-name star.
So when it came time to choose a senior project, the Ferndale High School wrestler knew he wanted to find a way to thank the organization that gave his brother one of the best days of his life after being diagnosed with cancer.
"I thought it was one of the coolest things I've ever seen," Adaeus said of brother Kielan Lynch's big day from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "They did the whole nine yards for him. It was huge."
Kielan was diagnosed with liver cancer at the end of April 2012, and within days he had surgery to remove a grapefruit-sized tumor and part of his liver. His wish was a celebrity experience and shopping spree, and Make-A-Wish and stores around Bellingham made it happen. The event was chronicled in The Bellingham Herald.
"It was awesome. He ended up crying from how happy he was," Adaeus said. "It was eye-opening that they could do that. They for one day make a kid feel pretty much how a kid is supposed to feel, away from all the hospitals and all the machines."
Kielan has recovered and is doing well, Adaeus said.
Now a freshman at Ferndale High, Kielan was one of more than a dozen people attending Adaeus' ballroom dancing class Thursday, March 27, in the school cafeteria, with ticket sales going to Make-A-Wish.
Adaeus taught step-by-step routines in East Coast swing and tango, with the help of his partner, Natasha Shafer, who has taken ballroom dancing classes with him at the high school. The pair gathered people around them in a circle, with everyone rotating partners for each new move. Adaeus and Natasha would demonstrate each set of steps in slow motion, walking the circle to help their students count out the steps and tweak people's technique, until finally the moves came together to form a routine.
Ferndale sophomore Jayde Laux donned a tux and paired with junior Lyndia Hull to put their spin on the moves. Both know Adaeus through their ballroom class, and liked the idea of combining dance with a worthy cause.
"I've had multiple family members who have passed away or survived cancer," Lyndia said. "It meant a lot to show up."
In addition to ticket sales, Adaeus raised money online for Make-A-Wish, and by Friday his efforts had earned more than $900.
"It's really neat to see people that have been though the program give back in the way he is," said Shane Kussmann, a local volunteer with Make-A-Wish who attended the dance class Thursday night.
Adaeus and Kielan both would like to volunteer for Make-A-Wish when they get a little older. For now, Kielan was happy his brother was "paying it forward" for the organization that gave him such a great day when he was going through a difficult time.
"It made me feel like there were people out there who actually cared and that I was not alone," Kielan said of his wish day. "For all that pain I had, I couldn't ask for anything more on that day. That made up for a lot of it."
HOW TO HELP
To donate to Adaeus Wilson-Premo's fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, go to friends.wish.org/048-000/page/Adaeus-Wilson-Premo/Dancing-for-Dreams.htm.
Reach ZOE FRALEY at email@example.com or call 756-2803.