Hanover, Md. (July 06, 2023) – Aston Carter, a leading workforce and consulting agency with a focus on financial and professional staffing services, partnered with Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic to dedicate a wish for nine-year-old Colton who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant. Colton’s wish is to visit the happiest place on earth: Walt Disney World Resort.
Colton was just five years old when his family received news that he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He persevered through years of treatment and recurrences before doctors concluded that Colton would need a bone marrow transplant. In July 2020, the family received news that there was a match and Colton would receive his transplant by an unrelated donor. That donor was Kevin Koerner, a 23-year-old high school math teacher from Elkton MD who joined Gift of Life as a volunteer donor in September 2019.
“I was in complete shock when I learned I was a match, as it’s only a one in 200 chance,” said Koerner. “Even though the COVID-19 lockdown was going on, I was absolutely going to donate, no matter what. I could not refuse a simple procedure that would have no long-term effects on me and would save someone’s life.”
Aston Carter dedicated Colton’s wish through Operation Dream Maker, a fund through Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic that grants wishes to children with critical illnesses from active military and veteran families. The wish dedication took place at Aston Carter’s Fairfax, VA office hosted by Director of Recruiting Operations, Eddie Harhai and his leadership team. The event was all about Colton and his family and included a send-off party with food, gifts, and a few of Colton’s favorite games.
“We wanted to honor Colton’s wish and celebrate his road to recovery” said Harhai. “The Fairfax team went above and beyond to make sure Colton felt special and seeing the smile on his face made us reflect that life is worth celebrating.”
As military veterans themselves, Aston Carter President Stuart Ferguson and Chief Financial Officer Steve Forman felt a strong connection to Colton, son of a U.S. Army active-duty major, and his family.
"Colton's story and the strength it took him and his family to overcome hardship, all while navigating a global pandemic, really inspires me,” said Ferguson. “I’m so happy they get to enjoy family time celebrating Colton’s recovery in Walt Disney World Resort and that Aston Carter was able to be a small part of their story.”
After several treatments, extended hospital stays and doctor visits between cities, Colton is now in remission. “The family has been through so much together these past five years and have experienced something no family should have to go through,” said Forman. “They are the true definition of brave and resilient and in a lot of ways — embody what it means to be a part of our Aston Carter community. And now, they are.”
To learn more about Colton’s story, please visit www.giftoflife.org.
Established in 1997, Aston Carter is a workforce solutions company delivering world-class staffing services and innovative offerings to thousands of clients across the globe. Drawing on our deep recruiting expertise and commitment to the talent experience, we extend the capabilities of industry-leading companies by providing solutions to address today’s business challenges. Our expansive global footprint enables us to work with agility and deliver excellence when meeting the evolving needs of our clients and talent community. Aston Carter is a company within Allegis Group, a global leader in talent solutions.
Make-A-Wish® creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic serves children who reside in the District of Columbia, Maryland and northern Virginia. Founded in 1983, the Mid-Atlantic chapter has granted more than 10,000 wishes in the Mid-Atlantic region since its inception. Wish kids face any number of critical illnesses such as cancer, pediatric AIDS, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Duchene’s muscular dystrophy, kidney and heart disease. The community has the opportunity to make an impact today by helping Make-A-Wish to reach hundreds of kids whose wishes would go otherwise unanswered this year. For more information, please visit www.midatlantic.wish.org.
Operation Dream Maker provides wishes to kids with critical illnesses whose parents and guardians serve, or have served, in the military. In addition to the uncertainty and fear of facing a childhood illness, the families of our military members have the added stress of their service - including deployments and frequent moves. On average, we grant 20 wishes annually to kids whose parents or guardians are serving or have served in the military. In addition, the Operation Dream Maker fund recognizes the inspirational power of military leaders by supporting the military-related wishes of all families.