Cancer Patient’s Wish Comes True at John Weldon

Posted on 11/05/2019
Liv talks with the Make A Wish representatives


Childhood illnesses are still too common in the modern world. Not only do parents have to worry about the flu, stomach bugs, or chickenpox, there is always a fear that something more severe could affect one of your children. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, approximately 1 in every 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their twentieth birthday.

Liv, a fourth grader at John Weldon Elementary School, was one of those children. She was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer found in the central nervous system that lives in the fluid surrounding the brain and spine. After having her tumor removed and radiation treatments five days a week for six weeks, Liv was told she was cancer-free. She was able to ring the bell that signified her victory at Children’s Hospital on Aug. 16, 2019. “When Liv rang the bell, it was such an overwhelming feeling,” said her mother, Leigh. “I mean, as a mom seeing your child have to go through something so traumatic as cancer, surgery, and treatment, there are no words.”

“Make a Wish asked us if we wanted to participate in her Make a Wish reveal so our Student Wolf Pack - similar to Student Council - planned an assembly,” said Special Education Teacher Janie Strebeck. During the assembly, Liv and some classmates played a special game of music trivia featuring Luke Bryan, a popular country music artist who she liked listening to during her radiation treatments.

With each correct answer, Liv was given a hint in the form of a gift. She received horse pajamas, horse toys, a stuffed horse, a necklace, and a gift card for horse riding lessons. With the final correct answer, Liv was asked to watch a short video message from Debbie McDonald, former Olympic equestrian competitor, and current Olympic coach. The message detailed that she was being sent to Colorado to ride horses in the mountains.

Hearing about how her mom rode horses competitively when she was younger, Liv has wanted nothing more but to ride horses her entire life. “Live has always begged to ride horses,” said Leigh. “Liv is a very outdoor kind of kid and the biggest animal lover you could find. It’s only fitting that she wants to combine her two dreams.” Liv hopes to be a vet in the future.

View KMOV’s coverage of Olivia’s celebration at John Weldon here.

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