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Dear Dream Maker,
My name is Anita and I am the proud mom to 4 great kids: Abby, Ryan, Nathan and Sara.
In February of 2018, my 11-year-old daughter Sara started experiencing some pain in her right leg. We decided to get it checked out and the results seemed a little off. To be thorough, we were sent to Winnipeg (8 hours from our home in Flin Flon) to see a hematologist. Within a few hours of arriving Sara was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia - a cancer of the blood cells. She was admitted to the hospital and things moved very quickly from there.
The next few days saw a central line inserted and chemotherapy begin. Not long after treatment started we learned that Sara’s leukaemia was a very high risk type that would require a bone marrow transplant. The process to find a suitable donor started right away.
Sadly, during this time we were also experiencing another extremely difficult situation as a family. My husband, Andy, had been battling 2 kinds of cancer for many years and was coming to the end of his fight. He passed away in April of 2018.
Sara continued treatment until July of 2018, when she received her transplant. After months of very difficult recovery, we were finally able to come home to Flin Flon on October 3rd, 2018.
Unbelievably, we didn’t know that we were about to face another huge challenge.
Just a few weeks later, on October 30th, my son Nathan was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma. His diagnosis came just 4 days before his 14th birthday. This meant going back to the city to start treatment for Nathan’s cancer. Over the next 4 months Nathan had 5 cycles of chemo before the tumour shrunk enough to be removed through surgery. Thankfully, they were successful and it was completely removed.
At the very beginning of this long journey we were told about The Dream Factory. We met with them when Sara was first diagnosed and their kindness was so comforting during such a terrible time in our lives. We spent many hours and days over the next year taking about all the amazing possibilities for dreams they might want to experience. It gave them something fun to focus on and look forward to. Sara decided on a bedroom makeover and Nathan wanted to go on a trip.
Sara’s bedroom was totally transformed and is now a teenage girl’s dream come true. It’s perfect for her and she now has the most beautiful space to enjoy and to relax in at home after so much time away at the hospital and in the city.
Nathan was looking for excitement and decided that Las Vegas would be the perfect destination!
We were treated to the most amazing, fun-filled trip imaginable. We travelled and stayed in-style at the beautiful Bellagio hotel and felt like VIP’s on every part of the trip.
The Dream Factory Family Funds also could not have been more appreciated with all of the extra expenses we had while living mostly in Winnipeg for a year and a half.
2018 brought some difficult days for our family. Especially for Nathan and Sara, who had some very tough treatment days, missed an entire year of school, and had to spend so much time away from home, friends and family. In the midst of all of that darkness, The Dream Factory gave them a bright spot to focus on.
Brainstorming the BIG dreams and planning all the small details gave them a break from thinking about the next doctor’s appointment, treatment, procedure, or hospital stay. Instead, they were focused on something fun and exciting. We could not be more grateful to this amazing organization.
To everyone who supports The Dream Factory - thank you for making dreams come true for so many deserving kids, including my Nathan & Sara. It really means the world to the kids who have been through so much, and are blessed enough to have their dreams become a reality.
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Winnipeg Free Press, in collaboration with Dream Factory