The family of a Calgary boy battling a life-threatening illness is paying it forward in a big way.
Luca Vaccaro, 12, and his family are grateful for the support they’ve received during his illness.
“When Luca was nine years old, he was diagnosed with leukemia,” Luca’s mother Gabriella Vaccaro said.
Luca responded well to two-and-a-half years of treatment and enjoyed breaks in a camping trailer, a gift from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“It totally lifted his spirits,” Gabriella said. “We’re big outdoors people, and he really enjoyed going camping.”
But then in December 2020, the leukemia came back — this time, tougher to treat.
Through it all, Luca never gave up.
“He’s the toughest, strongest, (most) courageous little boy there is,” Gabriella said. “(He) fought as hard as he possibly could, always with a smile on his face.”
Luca wanted to bring a smile to another Calgary child, so he and his family sold T-shirts to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“He wants to grant another wish for another little kiddo going through things they shouldn’t be going through,” Gabriella said.
Read more: Gallery: Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope
The Vacarros’ hard work paid off, with the family presenting the Make-A-Wish Foundation with a cheque for $4,000 on Wednesday.
“To want to give that same joy and that same hope that he experienced to another child, it’s such a pure thing to do,” said April Stallings, Make-A-Wish Foundation resource development manager.
“(Luca’s) just the kindest, most pure soul you would ever meet. A good kid. He always puts other people first.”
Luca’s family says his efforts to help others are part of his consistently generous spirit.
“Luca has the biggest heart, and he always wants to give back,” Gabriella said. “He just wants to enjoy what he has left with his family and his friends.”