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

Columbia Basin Trust is asking residents across the region to test their internet speeds so the Trust can better identify which areas aren’t meeting service expectations. (Columbia Basin Trust file)
Columbia Basin Trust asks residents to test internet speeds

Several communities across the Basin region, including Moyie, are asked to take the test

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services was responding to a fire at the corner of 2nd St. N & Victoria Avenue Wednesday morning. Trevor Crawley photo
UPDATED: Fire department response prompted by mischief, not fire

Motorists, residents advised to avoid corner of 2nd Street North and Victoria Avenue.

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

Health officials planning new measures to ensure people verify where they live before inoculation

Most Read