David Marenger

David’s Story 

David, wish granted 1987 (brain tumour)   David, wish granted 1987 (brain tumour)

I wish to go to Mexico to catch a blue butterfly    I wish to go to Mexico to catch a blue butterfly 

At just 6, David, a joyful and generous boy, was quickly torn from his carefree childhood following a medical diagnosis: he had brain cancer. His condition was critical, and the doctors didn’t give him more than twenty-four months to live. David was severely affected by the illness, and he needed to use a wheelchair. Just one image allowed him to hold on and forget his situation: the beautiful blue butterfly (his favorite color) that he saw for the first time with his parents at the Granby Zoo. His dream was therefore to be able to meet theses blue insects in their natural environment, to catch them himself.  

In 1987, he flew to Mexico with his family and Georges Brossard, founder of the Montreal insectarium to meet the Blue Morpho. When he arrived in this tropical forest and saw all these blue wings flying around him, David experienced such a feeling of happiness that he forgot his medical condition. The impossible then happens, he managed to get up and walk, his net in his hand, to capture them, “it’s the butterfly that taught me to walk again” explains David, still moved, 36 years later.   

The granting of David’s wish thwarted all the doctors’ predictions since following this trip, he experienced complete remission from the cancer. After a short relapse, David is now free of any medical treatment and leads a normal life.  

His story shows the power and impact of dreams. It even inspired a movie, Le Papillon Bleu released in 2004, but also a book, On the wings of the blue butterfly (2010).  

Passionate, David made his dream a vocation: all his life he worked with his favorite insect.  

For many years, he presented collections of 100 butterflies in different schools to deliver messages of hope. Today, he is mainly a landscaper for the municipality of Saint-Marthe, he performs butterfly flights during special events, and works in a Monarch breeding field. Here is David’s message for all children who are also facing difficult times “I would like to tell them that you should never give up, with hope everything is possible”.