Wish comes true for Farmington teenFarmington High School senior Dian Bloom is really looking forward to March 5, but last Friday wasn’t bad, either. Last Friday, Bloom learned she had been given a trip to Bora Bora through Make-A-Wish Minnesota. She received a trip for four that she’ll take later this spring. After March 5, for sure.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Farmington High School senior Dian Bloom is really looking forward to March 5, but last Friday wasn’t bad, either.
Last Friday, Bloom learned she had been given a trip to Bora Bora through Make-A-Wish Minnesota. She received a trip for four that she’ll take later this spring. After March 5, for sure.
What’s so special about March 5? With any luck, March 5 will be the day she’s declared cancer free.
The past year has been bit of a challenge for the 18-year-old, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer – angiosarcoma is the technical term – on May 24 last year. It came as a bit of a surprise to Bloom and her family, because she’d had problems with her digestive tract for two years, but nothing before that had indicated she had cancer. An MRI last spring showed her spleen was enlarged, so it was removed. It turned out, her spleen was filled with cancer, and the cancer had spread to her liver.
“Angiosarcoma is a very rare cancer, and it’s a fast-growing cancer,” her grandmother, Dori Bloom said.
“Like in movies, they sit you down, and they’ll be like, ‘You know, it might be cancer,’ but they just walked in the room and were like, ‘You have cancer. You have angiosarcoma. We’re going to start surgery later tonight,’” Dian said. “I didn’t have any time to react to it. I didn’t know how to react to it. It was just like, ‘Well, this is going on so you have to do this and that.’”
Dian went through a series of surgeries, according to family friend Marcie Adams. A couple of the surgeries were to place radiation beads directly onto the cancer spots on her liver and begin her treatments. She’s been in chemotherapy all of her senior year.
Make a wish
In December, Dian’s oncologist submitted her name to Make-A-Wish Minnesota, as a candidate who would qualify to have a wish granted. Make-A-Wish volunteer Charlie Smith said the organization grants wishes to kids, ages 2-18, who have life-threatening diseases. There is an application and review process that patients have to go through before being awarded their wish.
Make-A-Wish asks patients to think of two possible wishes they would like to have granted. One is supposed to be something they could receive at home, the other could be something larger and more involved, like a trip.
Since Dian found out she had cancer right before her junior prom, one of her two wishes was to have “the ultimate senior prom.” The other was to go to Bora Bora.
Dian was put on the Make-A-Wish list in December, and met with volunteers for the first time in January. On Friday, she knew she was getting one of her wishes granted – she just didn’t know which one.
The award was timed so that it would be broadcast live on the Tiger News, the student news program at FHS. The episode is also live on the school’s website.
Her grandmother, Dori, and “mom” Adams joined three Make-A-Wish volunteers in Dian’s classroom. With her classmates looking on, Dian opened an envelope from Make-A-Wish, and started crying when she saw what was inside. She was going to Bora Bora.
Dian has a love of photography, so Make-A-Wish volunteer Terri Johnson worked with LifeTouch and Best Buy to get her a new Canon Rebel digital camera.
Even though she’s had cancer, Dian has been determined to make the most of her senior year, and not let her diagnosis get her down.
“There’s three things she said when she found out she had cancer,” Dori Bloom said. “Number one, she said, I’m not afraid to die. Number two, I’m not afraid of cancer. And number three, cancer is not going to change my life.”
“I wasn’t going to let it stop me from going with my friends and going on vacation and going up north and seeing family. I was going to eat whatever I wanted to eat, I wasn’t going to let it influence or limit me,” Dian said.
Dian’s attitude hasn’t been lost on other students in the school, FHS counselor Barbara Walker said.
“Even people who don’t necessarily know you, they know of you and they’ve watched you. And for me, personally, you are an inspiration to me,” Walker told Dian on Friday.
Granted, not every day is easy, regardless of how positive Dian tries to keep her attitude.
“I do have my days where it’s like, ‘This really sucks’ and I get down on myself, but I don’t keep up on it. It’s not going to change anything. If anything, it’s just going to make things worse,” she said.
There’s something to be said for that spunk and determination. She’s got her final chemotherapy appointment scheduled for Feb. 19. She’ll go back for one last liver scan on March 5 to see if the cancer cells are dead. If the cells are dead, Dian will be declared cancer free and in remission.
“I’m going to get that car paint stuff and I’ll be like, ‘I kicked cancer’s ass,’” she said.
And then she can plan her trip.