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Free from cancer, Howell teen spends week in D.C.

A Livingston County teenager with a passion for politics is living out his dream this week, thanks to an organization that helps grant wishes to young people with cancer.

18-year-old Ethan Conley of Howell and his family are spending the week in Washington, D.C., touring the monuments and museums, taking in history, and meeting with lawmakers courtesy of an organization called Nik’s Wish Foundation.

Conley was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma last summer just before he turned 18 and right after he graduated from high school. He went through chemotherapy, and spent a significant time in the hospital. During that time he learned about Nik’s Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to young adults fighting cancer.

Conley, who is now cancer free, said his wish was to go to Washington, D.C. because he had always loved studying U.S. history and was very interested in politics.

On Tuesday, Conley and his parents had a private meeting with 8th district Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin in her D.C. office. The Congresswoman said she was honored to meet the Conley family, and was inspired by Ethan’s strength and resilience as a cancer survivor, as well as his passion for our nation’s history and politics. She said she has no doubt Conley, who has already overcome so many challenges in his young life, will go on to accomplish great things in the future.

Earlier this year, Ethan received a personal letter from President Joe Biden, who said that he and the First Lady would be keeping Ethan in their prayers. When he returns to Michigan, Ethan will be preparing for his freshman year at Central Michigan University, where he received a scholarship and will be playing the trumpet in the Chippewa marching band.

Ethan said his message is to “celebrate the small things and never lose hope. Just remember, there’s always something on the other side waiting.” 

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