Lilia Wiebe (Contributed to Black Press Media)

Lilia Wiebe (Contributed to Black Press Media)

Wish to build Lilia, 3, as normal a life as possible includes dream playhouse

Eric, Kaitlyn and Lilia Wiebe, from Enderby, share their story for Grant A Wish Day

Rainbows bring the promise of sunnier times ahead, and little Lilia Wiebe will soon have a perfect place to keep one of her very own.

In the spring of 2019, then-two-year-old Lilia Wiebe had not been sleeping well in her home in Enderby, B.C., and she seemed to be feeling under the weather.

A few weeks later, in the month of May, not only was she still not feeling well, she didn’t even have the energy to walk anymore.

Eric and Kaitlyn Wiebe—Lilia’s parents—had already taken her to the doctor, but now they knew something was really not well with their daughter. A trip to the Shuswap Lake emergency room and blood test later, it was confirmed that this was no ordinary bug that Lilia was carrying in her young body.

Want to help grant wishes for children like Lilia? Join Black Press Media and BraveFace by clicking here.

She was given an emergency blood transfusion and was immediately airlifted to Vancouver, where further tests confirmed a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

“We were in hospital, then, for 10 straight days,” recalled Eric Wiebe in a recent phone interview, as Lilia received her initial treatments that began her battle against the cancer.

The next two months were spent in Vancouver, with the Wiebes taking up residence at Ronald McDonald House, attached to B.C. Children’s Hospital. Lilia received intravenous chemotherapy at B.C. Children’s hospital once a week, and a daily dose of oral chemo and medication.

Treatments and a need to be in Vancouver continued for months. Eric had to continue his work in the construction industry back in Salmon Arm, and Kaitlyn had to give up the part time work she was doing, to be with Lilia on her treatment journey. Though they are now back in Enderby, there is still a lot of travel back to the coast for appointments and treatments every few months.

“Along the way, when we couldn’t always be together, we had support from our community,” said Eric. Friends and residents in Salmon Arm donated money to help cover lost wages, and “someone even donated flight tickets to us, to allow me to fly to Vancouver to be at the hospital.”

(Contributed to Black Press Media)

(Contributed to Black Press Media)

Lilia is still taking oral chemotherapy and medications in addition to the regular trips to Vancouver. Eric said that with only three more visits to Vancouver needed in the coming year, family is doing their best right now just to build as normal a life as possible for Lilia as she goes through her cancer battle.

And they’re also building something else, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Somewhere along the line of treatment appointments, Lilia’s her doctors informed that she would qualify for a wish.

“It took a bit of explaining to Lilia that she was going to be able to wish for pretty much whatever she wanted,” said Eric, but once she understood the concept, there was no stopping her.

(Contributed to Black Press Media)

(Contributed to Black Press Media)

“We must have walked through probably a dozen different ideas that she had”. From all the ideas that a three-year-old can have, a playhouse wish was born. Part of the Wiebe’s basement is being transformed into Lilia’s wish, but due to COVID-19 restrictions and the ability of workers to come and go freely the job is taking some time. Lilia doesn’t seem to mind the work in progress.

“She’s really enthused with it; she’s ready,” said Eric, who said she talks a lot about what she’ll do in the playhouse once her wish is fully built.

Lilia plans to make it a home for her dolls and stuffed animals, complete with a bedroom setup for them, and her play kitchen. Also of note: she really hopes there will be a rainbow somewhere in her playhouse, a nice reminder, perhaps, that after a storm the sunshine always comes back eventually.

Critically ill kids put on a Brave Face every day. Now you can, too, in support of Make-A-Wish.

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions, and we invite you to join us in helping children’s wishes come true. Click here to buy your masks today!

By purchasing a pack of three masks designed and manufactured right here in British Columbia for children, youth and adults, you’ll be supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Make-A-Wish

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police seek suspect after woman nearly robbed while getting out of vehicle

Incident occurred before 7 a.m. Feb. 17 in parking lot off Cordova Bay Road

Saskatoon resident liajah Pidskalny poses with his bike near the University of Victoria after putting on thousands of kilometres to raise awareness of the overdose and mental health crisis. (Courtesy Iliajah Pidskalny)
Saskatoon cyclist winds up mental health and overdose awareness ride in Victoria

Iliajah Pidskalny braves prairie winter conditions to get word out to communities

Gabriel Swift, 23, is one of three Victoria filmmakers chosen to receive $20,000 Telus Storyhive grants to produce Local Heroes documentaries. (Courtesy of Gabriel Swift)
Three Victoria filmmakers producing ‘local heroes’ documentaries with $20,000 grants

Telus Storyhive providing $20,000 to 40 Western Canada productions

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read