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A Wish for an Animal Lover

Dominic feeding a kangaroo at the San Diego Zoo

“ It was amazing to be able to see him explore like a normal kid! ”


- Dominic's Mom

At the age of three, Dominic has already beaten cancer twice since his initial diagnosis at eight months old. Because of this, he has also been through chemotherapy twice and has had a full kidney and a portion of his other kidney removed. Though he has some serious medical issues, Dominic is every much the active toddler. His mom even remembers how during his chemotherapy treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital he would be running up and down the halls of the clinic, as all of his doctor’s would gaze at him in awe.

During his time at the hospital, Dominic and his family were introduced to Make-A-Wish and requested an animal-filled trip for his wish.

“Animals, he knows them, he loves them, and he loves being around them,” his mom said.

Dominic feeds an OkapiHis wish team got to work and created a trip to San Diego tailored to his favorite things. The highlight was his own personal VIP tour of the San Diego Zoo where he got to get close to Otis the hippo and Debbie the elephant, and fed giraffes, elephants, and okapis. His mom said that not only does he keep bringing up the zoo but also “he now he walks around the house telling me that he’s an okapi as he sticks his tongue out like an okapi.”

While in San Diego, Dominic also visited Nurtured by Nature where he was able to interact with baby otters, armadillos, a sloth, some lemurs, and a porcupine. While he was there he also got to see some kangaroos and swim with the otters in a little pool.

“It was great to be able to see him interact with the world. Having spent so much time in and out of hospitals and being told both times that his tumors were still growing despite of the chemotherapy, you just never really know how things are going to go,” said Dominic’s mom.

Dominic still gets monitored every three months with MRI’s and x-rays, and he will probably require a kidney transplant down the road. He still talks about wish and all of the animals he met. His mom says his wish experience was a great way to celebrate the end of treatment and kickoff re-entry into normal life.
  • Dominic having fun at Nurtured by Nature with the toys for the otters

  • Dominic holding an otter at Nurtered by Nature

  • Dominic and his parents with the giraffes at the San Diego Zoo

  • Dominic and his mom feeding the giraffes at the San Diego Zoo

His wish was a great way to celebrate the end of his treatment and to kind of kick off his re-entry into normal life. It was amazing to be able to see him explore like a normal kid! ”

— Dominic's Mom

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