Around the time of Luca Dall’Acqua’s fourth birthday his parents noticed something wasn’t right.
He drank a lot and, he peed a lot, but he ate very little, felt unwell and started losing weight.
Doctors discovered his pancreas had stopped working, the result of Type 1 diabetes, said his mom, Dianne Dall’Acqua.
It took a few days in the hospital to get him sorted. Five years later, Luca, 8, lives with a tube under his skin that connects to an insulin pump. He checks his blood sugar levels every two hours to prevent further damage to his organs and to prevent the risk of entering a coma. He’s able to do this on his own and with help from aids as a Grade 3 student at Cordova Bay elementary.
The technology is a life saver but it hasn’t been quite the care-free style of life most Saanich kids experience. And that’s why Help Fill A Dream is flying Luca and his family to California to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios this week.
“We actually have six families [of kids with various life altering conditions] in either Disney World or Disneyland right now,” said Craig Smith, executive director of Help Fill A Dream.
A grateful Luca will enjoy his ninth birthday while on the trip. He’ll also have $200 cash to spend on a souvenir to remember it by, a little present the Help Fill A Dream calls “mad money.”
Smith made the presentation to the Dall’Acqua family on Tuesday in the Christie Phoenix Insurance office in Royal Oak. The ofice is home to insurance agent and employee benefit specialist Ted Balderson, a community champion who ran several fundraisers in 2018 that benefited Help Fill A Dream.
“Balderson’s support of Help Fill A Dream is much more than just fundraising,” Smith said. “He regularly acts as a resource for the organization calling on his extensive network to assist with helping to make ‘dreams’ come true.”
Help Fill a Dream provides ‘dreams,’ which include help and happiness for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands children with life-threatening conditions to improve quality of life, and to assist families with care and financial support.
Earlier this year Balderson used connections to create a ‘dream’ for an Island child go not only visit the Boston Bruins’ home opener in Boston, but also visit the dressing room to meet his favourite players after the game. This year Balderson also donated $50 to Help Fill A Dream for every Victoria HarbourCats double play, which ended up totalling $1,100 (12 double-plays).