Campaign helps fill dreams of sick kids

NANAIMO: Boy's dream to have a pirate treehouse becomes reality

Teagan Reimer

Teagan Reimer

Lowen Reimer couldn’t keep a smile off his face Wednesday when he was shown a drawing of the pirate treehouse that will be installed in his backyard soon.

“Of all the things he wished for, above everything else, he wanted a pirate treehouse,” said his father, Bryce. “I don’t know where it came from. We’re going to be the happening place on the block.”

Lowen’s dream is coming true thanks to the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, which provides hope, help and happiness to Island children with life-threatening conditions.

The Reimer family received the good news at the Country Grocer on Bowen Road. At the same time, the Island grocery chain launched a fundraising campaign for the foundation – until Dec. 15, proceeds from “dream” bouquets, paper shirts and Island-grown Christmas trees will go toward fulfilling the dreams of sick children and supporting their families.

Last year, Country Grocer raised more than $10,000 for the foundation, said director Peter Cavin.

Lowen, 5, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was three, forcing the family of five to move to Vancouver for a month in December 2010 while he underwent treatment at B.C. Children’s Hospital. His mother, Jen, describes that time as exhausting and overwhelming for the family, both emotionally and financially.

She had just gone on maternity leave and Bryce took a leave from his job as a mill worker to be with their sick child in Vancouver.

The foundation helped them through that difficult time by supplying food and travel vouchers and now Lowen’s dream is about to be fulfilled.

Lowen’s cancer is in remission, but treatment doesn’t end until 2014 to make sure it doesn’t come back.

While too shy to talk to the media, it was obvious by the ear-to-ear smile and the light in his eyes that Lowen is excited about his pirate treehouse, complete with a crow’s nest, a cabin for sleepovers, a treasure chest, a slide and a swing.

Craig Smith, executive director of the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, said the organization is working with the Serauxmen Service Club and the project will be built largely by volunteers in the new year.

“One of the things we find when kids are sick and families are coping with that, having something to look forward to is a big thing,” he said. “It plays a large role in helping the healing process.”

Since 1986, the foundation has fulfilled 1,965 dreams.

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