On a recent hike with her dad and big sister, Anna saw a skunk cabbage - with its large leaves and shell-like pod - pushing its way up from the ground. “It’s a sign of spring,” she said.
Spring marks a time for new beginnings. For this young adventurer, spring meant the end of induction therapy and the start of remission.
Last July, when she was just four years old, severe stomach pains and a high fever sent her to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Since then, her dad said the attention Anna received were associated with bad things – hospital stays, needles, cancer.
That is, until Make-A-Wish® Oregon came along.
“Now, she’s getting attention for something good,” said her dad, Julian.
That good came in the form of tiny collectible animal figurines called Calico Critters. Anna fell in love with the toys on one of the many evening adventures that she and her dad frequently take. The trips usually ended with a cup of hot chocolate and a visit to a children’s store where Anna played with the store’s Calico Critter sets.
At the party where her wish was revealed, Anna’s volunteer wish granters created an amazing scavenger hunt at the Portland Children’s Museum. The treasure map led Anna, her sister and her friends to each of the Calico Critter sets and culminated with a pizza party.
“She’s definitely happy. She and her sister have huge imaginations, so it’s awesome to watch [them play] because they sort of get lost in this Calico land.”
The figurines and their accessories, including a luxury townhome, treehouse, supermarket, toy shop and school, are all set up in Anna’s room. However, her dad said they somehow make their way through the house and yard.
Despite having to pick up after Anna, Julian is glad the wish brought back her sense of adventure. “She has this magnifying glass and looks at everything with it – including her pet worm, Steve. She’s been exposed to so many great things through Make-A-Wish.”