Paisley is only four-years-old but she has experienced so much in her young life – so much more than any child should ever have to.
You see, Paisley has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer off and on since she was eight-months-old – since she was just a baby. Paisley lived in the hospital for five months and 22 days during her first year of life. She has endured three difficult brain surgeries, countless chemotherapy regimens, and several blood and platelet transfusions.
Even though Paisley has been through so much, her beautiful smile still shines through at the end of each and every day. She inspires all of us with her amazing strength and resilience.
Now Paisley goes to CancerCare weekly for finger pokes and so we can meet with her oncologist. Her current chemotherapy regimen is one week of chemo every three weeks, with two of those weeks neutropenic for the rest of her life because we are using a new trial drug. This means that two of those three weeks, Paisley’s immune system is very low, which makes her vulnerable to infections and viruses that can be potentially life-threatening. It’s a very scary world for all of us but especially for a four-year-old girl.
We were given the incredible opportunity to leave the hospital behind for an entire week so that we could travel to San Diego together as a family. We were able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine of California and all of the stunning animals at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, as well as SeaWorld. We had a week together to just focus on being a family, outside of the world of hospital and treatment rooms, grueling chemotherapy and countless needle pokes.
Paisley was very excited about this incredible adventure and insisted on walking, while pushing her little brother in the stroller as she watched all of her favourite animals at the zoo. She also loved having the special opportunity of feeding an okapi –which is a very cute animal related to giraffes. Our entire family really loved seeing the incredible pandas in their enclosure and seeing all the workings of the elephant enclosures.
Paisley enjoyed the beach with her brother and sister and also made friends with some very important and kind members of the San Diego Fire Department. We had the amazing opportunity to meet a fellow cancer family from our online support group, along with a long term survivor – this meeting gave our family so much hope!
If you ever felt that kind of hope in your lifetime, you know what this trip did for us. This trip helped us to create memories together as a family. We left our worries behind for a week and just simply had fun together.
Our family is so grateful for donors who helped us to create so many smiles and memorable moments with our kids. With your continued support, The Dream Factory can make even more dreams come true for kids just like Paisley.
-Amy, Paisley’s Mom