As a Miltonian, you have probably met or at least heard of second grader, Liam Wilson. At just 8 years old, his impact is being felt far and wide by his peers and their families. He has captured the hearts of our community as well as the hearts of the organizations such as The John Tavares Foundation and SickKids Foundation.
hen Liam was only three weeks old, his mother Deana took him to his routine doctor’s appointment. The doctor found him to have a rapid heart rate and considerable weight loss. Liam was immediately taken to Oakville Trafalgar Hospital where they underwent more testing and shortly thereafter, Deana was faced with the news that her newborn was being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. “Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. At present, there is no cure. CF causes various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs… Typical complications caused by cystic fibrosis are difficulty digesting fats and proteins; malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies because of the inability to absorb nutrients, progressive lung damage from chronic infections and aberrant inflammation; CF-related diabetes; and sinus infections. It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has CF.” (Source: Cystic Fibrosis Canada)
The news of the diagnosis came as a devastating shock to the Wilsons but very quickly they resolved to be proactive and shine a light on Liam’s story in the hopes to create awareness and fundraising for those affected by Cystic Fibrosis. In May of 2019, Deana and her aunt Leesa approached Iguana Books in the hopes of starting a line of children’s books that would help inspire children like Liam. The following years were spent spreading awareness and writing a book with Liam’s input, titled “Liam, Strong as a Tree”. The book was inspired by a tree in The Wilson’s backyard. Liam was about to enter Kindergarten. He would wear an oxygen mask, and have his medication but Deana worried. She assured Liam and herself that trees need lots of oxygen from the air, just like his lungs. And they need food from the ground, just like his tummy. Sometimes, their tree gets sick, sicker than the other trees. That’s when Mom and Liam give it special food and extra love, and it grows big and strong again. This was the inspiration for the book which was a huge success and can be found on Amazon and has been a great source of inspiration as well as raising awareness and funds.
Since the release of “Liam, Strong as a Tree”, Liam has appeared on Television interviews, radio shows and in local newspapers. As a SickKids Ambassador, he has also appeared in a SickKids television commercial.
Unfortunately in late 2021, Liam’s health was compromised and he needed a tune up. This would mean a 2 week hospital stay at Sick Kids Hospital. Liam was nervous, but just like the first book, his mom reminded him that he is as Strong as a Tree! He certainly did not feel strong. His fears increased when he was told that he would have to take his medicine through a needle! Liam was afraid of the IV needle. His hospital stay was the inspiration for his second book, Liam’s Hospital Stay. The book is based on his experience during his 2 weeks stay. It is an inspirational book for other children who are apprehensive and nervous about staying in hospital. The book is in its crowdfunding stage and is very close to the $2500 goal. All proceeds from the book will go to Sick Kids Foundation and the John Tavares Foundation.
One can support by ordering a copy of the book through: