“It’s something that we typically do as parents,” the little girl’s mother said “We worry about our kids. We want what’s best for them. We want them to be happy and healthy.”
Three-year-old Olivia Waytenick was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer – acute lymphoblastic leukemia – at the age of 10 months.
“The fear and anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis is just unparalleled. And it’s something that will never go away,” said Tracy Lux, Olivia’s mother.
While in the process of treatment at the University of Iowa, Olivia and her mother applied to the Make-A-Wish foundation. This led to Olivia and her mother being featured speakers at the Walk for Wishes event this past Sunday.
“Being a part of the walk was a way for us to thank Make-A-Wish. But also to hopefully allow other people to see what Make-A-Wish can do for other families too,” Lux said.
Olivia and her family had a long journey of treatments at the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital soon after they received Olivia’s diagnosis.
The treatment process took two years for Olivia to complete. Throughout the two years, there were difficult battles for the Waytenick family. One incident saw Olivia battle a virus that resulted in the removal of her colon. And then she had to undergo emergency surgery to save her life.
“For everybody who has supported us, and all of the organizations that help people who are going through difficult times, we are just so grateful for everybody who has helped us along this journey,” Lux said.
The family recently took a trip to Wisconsin. When they arrived back home, they were greeted by a host of family and friends with a surprise playhouse for Olivia and her sister.
“The kids were so surprised. And they continue to enjoy their playhouse. And that’s part of what Make-A-Wish is about. Any family who is going through something difficult, like a child’s illness, deserves the chance to feel the joy and the hope that can come along with a Make-A-Wish.”
The Waytenick family will continue their happy ending: Olivia’s mom and dad will get married Saturday.