Siyam’s Story – ‘I wish to go to my favourite theme park’

Siyam, age 6, leukemia. Submitted photo.

Siyam, age 6, leukemia

Siyam was three years old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Katrin and her son were quickly uprooted from their small town and moved to a larger city so Siyam could receive treatment. “This was such a tough time to go through,” she recalled. She was also devastated when she watched her once-vivacious son undergo injections, therapies and lose his hair over his more than two years of treatment.

“He was not the joyful and active child he used to be,” she said. “It was hard to cheer him up and he had no friends all this time due to
his immunosuppression.” The difficult time was even more challenging and isolating amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Siyam, age 6, leukemia. Submitted photo.

When Siyam discovered he was eligible for a wish, he was instantly drawn to the idea of a theme park adventure, having enjoyed a previous visit to Calaway Park in Calgary, Alberta.

When he decided on a visit to a sunny Florida theme park, the wish anticipation was all he could think about. “Once he understood where we are going, and what is actually going to happen, and that this is all about him, he kept asking every single day when the time has come and couldn’t wait for the day to arrive,” Katrin said. She added that even four months after his wish was granted, Siyam still fondly reminisces about the trip and looks over their family photos.

HOPE is essential for children with critical illnesses, and its life-changing power is unlocked when wishes like Siyam’s are granted.