Dear Friend of The Dream Factory,
My name is Darrell Poirier. On November 14th, 2014 my wife Melissa and I, along with our son Liam were very excited to welcome our newest addition to our family, Colten. Or as we call him, Coco.
A tough little dude and a Disney Dream come true!
Colten came to us without any complications, but as Melissa was snuggling her beautiful new baby, she noticed a small scab on the back of his head. Little did we know, this would be the start of his battle with the ever so stubborn and rare Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). At 4 weeks, another scab appeared on his neck. Then, by 8 weeks old, his torso was covered front to back.
The doctor took a skin biopsy, which confirmed our worst fears. At 3 months old, he was off to CancerCare for the first of many visits. An x-ray and ultrasound confirmed the disease was only on his skin. They continued to monitor him closely with ultrasounds and x-rays. Time went by, and his skin cleared up. We were out of the woods – or so we thought.
At roughly 1 year old, we noticed a bump on the side of Colten’s head. After being sent for even more scans, we learned that Colten now had 2 LCH tumours in his head. One on the side of his skull, and one in his eye socket. The disease was no longer just in his skin and, for our family, this was terrifying.
Colten immediately had a central line (a catheter placed in a large vein) put in and started the first of many chemo treatments.
It’s been 3 years since his diagnosis and Colten has undergone many, many treatments. The disease was very stubborn but we are SO happy to say that the lesions are gone! Colten will be finished treatment at the end of November 2018, and we can’t wait! Colten has been fighting since he was born, and we are so excited for him to be able to experience all of the joy of being happy and healthy.
It was during one of our many hospital visits that we first learned about The Dream Factory.
Excited as could be, we contacted them immediately, and WOW. Words cannot explain what they have meant to us! Their team took us under their wings and made us feel like family.
Colten is an amazing little guy. He loves Paw Patrol, zoo animals, and roller coasters, so it was no surprise that his dream was to visit Disney World to meet the characters, ride the coasters, and see all of the animals! To learn that Colten’s dream was going to come true after such a difficult couple of years was more than we ever could have asked for.
The Dream Trip was more than enough, but we were blown away when we learned about The Dream Factory’s “Dream Family Funds”. These extra funds were to help us get ahead on bills or cover some of the unexpected costs we faced as a result of Colten’s illness. As a single income family going through the most difficult time emotionally and financially, you cannot imagine the weight this lifted off our shoulders.
They helped us forget about the tough times we have to face while taking care of our little warriors. They helped us remember what it feels like to be together as a family, and just let our kids be kids.
During Colten’s dream we spent 7 magical days at Give Kids The World Village and visited the Disney Parks. A special highlight for us was that Colten turned 3 in Florida! The Dream Factory managed to arrange for Coco to spend his 3rd birthday with Mayor Clayton (for those of you who don’t know – he’s the resident rabbit Mayor of Give Kids The World!). It was one of my best days ever, and one that our family will never forget.
Another special moment for us was going swimming. As simple as it sounds, it’s something that we’ve never been able to do because of Colten’s treatments. Before we left, Colten had his central line removed which allowed him to go swimming completely submerged in water for the first time in his life! He had so much fun, and as a Dad I was so proud to see Coco swimming and splashing away after all he’s been through.
No words can describe what it feels like to have your child become sick, and no words can describe how amazing it feels to receive support like we did from The Dream Factory. They helped us forget about the tough times we have to face while taking care of our little warriors. They helped us remember what it feels like to be together as a family, and just let our kids be kids. None of these Dreams would be possible without the help of supporters like yourselves! Thanks to people like you, we have photo albums full of huge smiles, a now 4 year old boy that loves to share how he visited Mickey Mouse at his castle in the sky, and a star with Colten’s name to return to at Give Kids The World.
From our family to yours, thank you for making dreams come true!
Darrell, Melissa, Liam and Colten.