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Teen returns from granted wish to chase storms

By NICOLE PITT

WEST WINFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - It was the experience of a lifetime for a teenager in West Winfield as 16 year old Nick Rodick chased storms out west with a legendary mentor.

Nick's love of weather began at a very young age.

"I remember him using the spray bottle, going outside with his sister and spraying and looking at the rain and turning it into snow and ice, so he did a lot," said Kathy Welch, Nick's mom.

Kathy says Dr. Nicole Bruno from Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown started the whole process of connecting Nick with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"Nick was diagnosed when he was ten," Kathy said. "We didn't know that he had lost his eyesight."

Nick suffers from a very rare disease known as Von Hippel-Lindau, a condition that causes benign tumors throughout the body.

"He has tumors in the brain, his pancreas and his spinal cord, but the one we're most concerned about is obviously the tumor that's in his eye," Kathy said. "They are still doing research and there is no cure for this."

If you've followed Nick's story, you know that with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he spent his Spring Break chasing storms out west with the Discovery Channel's Reed Timmer and the team from Viper Tours.

"I really enjoyed seeing Reed Timmer," Nick said. "He's awesome. They were fantastic. They treated me really special and I felt, really, part of the team. Not like, put out, 'I'm just that kid,' I actually felt part of the team. That was amazing. They were weather nerds like me."

On his trip, Nick saw his first tornado and was pelted with golf ball-size hail.

"It almost formed a second tornado," Nick said. "When you get out of the car, it's a totally different experience."

When he returned, though, it was back to the real world, complete with a return to class for this 16 year old.

"Coming back to school was really different because you have this change, from talking pure weather to not talking weather models at all," Nick said.

At such a young age, Nick already knows so much about weather, which he says he learned from his local meteorologist.

"Bill Kardas is the one who helps me throughout my teen years and throughout my hard times too," Nick said. "He's awesome."

On Sunday, Nick received a text message from Reed Timmer, saying that he would like to go storm chasing with him again this summer. Nick says next time, they plan on heading to the plains.

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