A Simple Wish

Young Leeland Hill used a wish for a heartwarming first-time meeting with his great-grandmother


The Children’s Wish Foundation granted a young boy from Halifax the kind of wish you don’t hear about every day. Nine-year-old Leeland Hill wanted to come to Kelligrews, Newfoundland to meet his 91-year-old great grandmother, Betty Thorne. 

Hanging out with granny

“I just want to hang out with her,” he said at a “puppy party” thrown for him in Halifax as a send off before his voyage to Newfoundland. 

The party covered a lot of Leeland’s favourite things – There was a french fry stand (he loves potatoes), sports cars, military members, and dogs of all kinds from people in the community. 

Talking about his love of dogs, Leeland said, “It’s the cuteness, and the fluffiness.” He said that while he has a cat, he’s “an old man so he’s not really a snuggle bug.”

Leeland was diagnosed with focal pontine/mid-brain high grade glioma, having what is described as, “a tennis ball-sized tumour on the back of his brain.” The condition is terminal. Despite all this, the young man remains in good spirits.

“He’s not thinking about himself at all – he thinks about everybody else,” said his father Shane Beck.

Leeland arrived in Port aux Basques on the 10th, where he got what many young boys can only fantasize about – an RCMP escort across the island. It was a long day for young Leeland, but well worth it when he got the chance to meet his great grandma Thorne.

Leeland finally got to meet his great grandma at Admiral’s Coast Retirement Centre in Conception Bay South. The two hugged before sitting down together and greeting guests, many of whom brought presents. 

Leeland’s puppy party

The next Monday, Leeland was brought down to Bowring Park in St. John’s for Leeland’s Puppy Party in the Park, an event hosted by Children’s Wish Foundation. People from the community brought in dogs of all shapes and sizes to meet Leeland, from the gigantic to the petite.

One of Leeland’s favourite dogs, however, was Odis. Odis is a two-year-old dog without the use of his back legs. Despite his obvious disability, Odis is more than happy to run around with his wheelchair, offering himself up for pets to the nearest stranger.

“I have a wheelchair just like him!” said Leeland when asked about his favourite dog at the party. 

Young Leeland shows a lot of courage in his positive attitude and giving nature. Wanting to come all the way to Newfoundland just so your great grandma can meet you for the first time is a sign of the maturity of this brave young man. 

May there be plenty more good times, tender family moments and puppy kisses in the future for Leeland Hill.

For more on the fantastic work of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador visit childrenswish.ca

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