Winnipeg teen battling life-threatening illness has wish granted

Ashlee Podolsky will soon have her dream come true to go with her family to Hawaii.
Ashlee Podolsky will soon have her dream come true to go with her family to Hawaii. The Dream Factory

WINNIPEG — Battling a life-threatening illness means a lot of hospital and doctors’ visits, but The Dream Factory gives Manitoba children the opportunity for a fun distraction from it all for a little while.

Ashlee Podolsky was 12 when she found out she had p-ANCA vasculitis. It’s a medical condition that causes the cells in one  kidney to attack each other. The illness caused a lot of drastic changes in the teenager’s life, including regular poking, prodding, a change in her diet and entire lifestyle.

Ashlee Podolsky was 12 when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Randy Podolsky

“I wasn’t eating. I had to get blood work and the needle pokes in my left arm,” Podolsky said.

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All the while, one of her kidneys was functioning at only 10 per cent, which meant she needed a new one.

It turned out her father was a match, and would later donate a kidney to his daughter.

Randy Podolsky donated a kidney to his daughter just over a year ago. Randy Podolsky

“I didn’t really look at it as saving her life, rather than giver her another shot,” Ashlee’s dad, Randy Podolsky, said.

Ashlee Podolsky, now 15, was nominated by a nurse to The Dream Factory. It’s not-for-profit organization that grants dreams for Manitoba children battling life-threatening illnesses.

Her dream was to go to Hawaii and her wish has come true. Podolsky will be heading there with her family in February.

“We are the first dream granting organization in Canada,” Cindy Titus, from The Dream Factory, said.

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The organization started in 1983 and has granted over 600 dreams, with Ashlee’s dream being the 653rd.

Titus said the reason The Dream Factory exists is so that it can give children a chance to just be a kid again, even if only for a brief moment.

“We want to give these kids a break and given them a chance to be a kid again essentially. Time away from [the] hospital where they can spend time with their families,” Titus said.

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