It’s no surprise that Mickey Mouse is a beloved character to all. But Mickey has no bigger fan than 3-year-old Archer. When he met Mickey on his wish to go to Disney World, it was magical. There is still debate as to who was more excited…Mickey or Archer. It’s definitely a tossup.
Archer is lively, energetic, and loves playing with his friends. By looking at him, you would never know what he has been through the past two years. Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on June 14, 2015, just two days shy of turning 11 months, Archer’s world came crashing down. His dad Kevin said, “The diagnosis was a complete shock. We had seen some bruises on his arms and legs but assumed that was from his active behavior. We took him in for blood tests which showed some abnormalities, so it was suggested we take him to Dell Children’s for further testing. The results came back, his blood counts were low and we were sent via ambulance to the ER where it was confirmed…Archer had leukemia.” Because of Archer’s age, the leukemia was considered to be highly aggressive with a survival rate of only 30-40 percent. “Our entire life would be forever changed that day,” Lauren, Archer’s mom said. Archer’s treatment began immediately and would continue for two years, all while trying to navigate the milestones of a young child learning to walk and talk.
Deanna Carillo, Archer’s Child Life Specialist at Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center, tells us Archer is a little firecracker who NEVER let cancer slow him down. “I was so excited to refer Archer to Make-A-Wish because every child who has been stripped of their toddler years, deserves to start a new journey in the most unbelievable way,” she told us.
Archer’s trip to Disney World was described by his parents as “more than just a vacation, it was a chance to make memories with our family, free from the worries and stress that had consumed us for so long.” The best part they said, “was when Archer met Mickey – he was the most excited we had ever seen him. He was speechless…we all were. I will always remember the grin he had on his face that stretched from ear-to-ear the entire trip.” They tell us the glow in his eyes is still there today. Deanna backs that up. She says “watching Archer look back at his videos and photos from his trip leave me speechless. He radiates after his trip and meeting Mickey Mouse.”
While they can’t say officially that Archer is a survivor until he goes another five years without any signs of leukemia, the family is moving forward and enjoying life without cancer treatments. But so far, he has overcome so many big obstacles and as Deanna says, he is “now on his way to conquer the world one step at a time.”
“A wish experience is a chance for these kids, these heroes, to be recognized and to feel as special as they truly are. The smiles a wish brings is quite simply…priceless.” – Lauren