Derek loves playing with transformers and wearing his superman cape. He rarely complains or stops smiling. In the spring of 2013 this happy 3-year-old became very sick and was taken to the doctor, only to discover he had a form of kidney cancer called Wilm’s tumor.
His family was scared and didn’t quite understand what was going on, but so many people reached out to them in love and support including Make-A-Wish® Utah. In the midst of all the chaos of treatments, Derek was able to find some magic and his family was given something to look forward to.
Treatments were difficult but Derek remained strong and brave. When he was given a key to the Wish Tower he lit up and had an extra big smile on his face. His true wish was to be able to play with his older brother Tyler like they used to, so as he joyfully walked through the colorful tower to declare his wish, he asked for a pirate playhouse.
The “fort” as Derek and Tyler call it was build right before his final chemo treatment. They would stare out the window, anxiously waiting be pirates on a high-seas adventure. Finally the time had come for this young swashbuckler to find his treasure. The boys couldn’t contain their excitement as they dashed into the fort. There was a giant black flag, a treasure chest, swords, costumes, furniture and more! Tyler picked up the spy scope and told Derek (who was wearing a captain hat and turning the wheel) that a storm was coming!
After months of staying home and struggling to stay healthy, it was nice to have an escape for his imagination right in his backyard. Derek is steadily gaining his strength back and now has a baby sister. He is looking forward to playing pirates with his whole family for many years to come!