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Hundreds show up with dogs to fulfill Make-A-Wish for 7-year-old cancer patient

Lily Dallow / KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Tri Counties Make-A-Wish Foundation surprised a 7-year-old cancer patient with the dog party of his dreams, and on Friday afternoon -- the community showed up.

Lily Dallow / KEYT

At 3 p.m., community members started lining up throughout Tucker's Grove to parade their dogs for 7-year-old Aleksander's puppy and pizza party.

By 5 p.m., the end of the parade line stretched out of sight from where Aleksander sat with his mom and friends, greeting every puppy that showed up to see him.

Lily Dallow / KEYT

Aleksander has always been a very energetic and adventure seeking little boy. Prior to his diagnosis, Aleksander was healthy and full of life. He loved going on adventures and enjoyed doing all kinds of fun activities with his mom Natalia and his brother Phillip.

Aleksander was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2020. The diagnosis completely changed their lives. Instead of planning school schedules and activities, Natalia made the decision to move Aleksander and Phillip to Texas for a promising treatment plan. Aleksander seemed to be thriving.

They stayed for several months and returned to SB in June 2021 as Aleksander was showing no further evidence of the cancer. The family believed this challenging and trying chapter in their lives was over.  Aleksander began home schooling through the Santa Barbara Charter School and since he enjoys swimming, he decided to join the water polo team.

In November 2021, Aleksander and his family received the gut wrenching news that the cancer had appeared once again. Since then, Aleksander has received numerous chemotherapy treatments, but the tumors continued to grow.

Sadly, Aleksander was put on hospice care at the end of January 2022. 

As soon as we learned this story we knew we needed to step in to help. Our team learned he loved puppies and pizza and so that is what his special wish will be focused on. The Santa Barbara Fire Department will be attending and supporting this small wish party in celebration of a very special wish kid. And we hope this wish will provide a moment of joy for this special wish kid and family.

Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties
Aleksander and his mom, Make-A-Wish

This wish party was anything but small.

Community members poured through the park to celebrate Aleksander and his puppy party. Multiple attendees estimated that the number of total participants ranged into the hundreds.

Lily Dallow / KEYT

For more on Tri Counties Make-A-Wish and how to donate, click here.

Lily Dallow / KEYT

Tune into News Channel 3-12 tonight at 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. for more on this story.

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Lily Dallow

Lily Dallow is a digital journalist and assignment editor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Lily, click here.

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