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Natasia is her parent’s little angel, and as a child, she was full of life and spirit. However, when she was two, Natasia developed leukemia – a cancer of the blood.
The diagnosis was devastating for Natasia’s parents. “It leaves you empty, afraid, speechless – you can’t believe it’s happening to you,” says her mother. The carefree life Natasia once had was flipped upside-down.
Their new reality of hospitals and doctor visits settled in and sent them down a road no family wants to take. They stayed strong and began the fight for Natasia’s life, together. “You take a little bit of a step back and regroup, then create a plan,” says Natasia’s dad, on moving forward.
Natasia’s parents were sitting in the hospital one day waiting for her chemotherapy to begin, when they met another couple, who had once been part of Make-A-Wish®. “We were given a Make-A-Wish brochure at the time of diagnosis but we thought, ‘Why? Why us?’” admits Natasia’s father, who initially disregarded the thought of it. However, after talking to the couple in the waiting room, hearing the incredible stories of other wish kids and realizing that Natasia’s wish would be completely customizable to what she wanted, they started to reconsider.
Natasia’s wish was to go somewhere warm, with a beach... Somewhere she could feel the sand between her toes. Make-A-Wish® Northern Alberta sent Natasia and her family to Maui, Hawaii, where the family stayed in a condo beside the beach. Natasia was unbelievably excited. “Seeing her run down the beach for the first time was the most moving experience,” says Natasia’s mother. “The memory of seeing her carefree, running, smiling, touching the water, putting her feet in the water and running back to us — it was so beautiful.”
For a moment in time, Natasia was the carefree child her parents once knew. The family was able to step away from Natasia’s illness and experience something new, while creating new, healing memories. “We are forever grateful for getting this experience,” says Natasia’s father.
Natasia is now 16 years old and is thriving as a teenager. She keeps busy with dance classes, hanging out with friends and is even working a couple of part-time jobs. Filled with life and spirit once again, Natasia and her family remain forever grateful for the healing experience they received.