3-year-old cancer survivor wishes for backyard doughnut shop

3-year-old Mallory on one of the swings attached to her doughnut shop-themed playhouse.

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) – She could have wished for a trip to Disney World or to meet someone famous. But Mallory, a 3-year-old from Michigan, wished for a doughnut shop in her backyard.

“The doughnut shop came about when we started this process. We had originally thought we’d do Disney, but when you meet Mallory, you quickly realize she gets very overwhelmed,” Ashley, Mallory’s mother, said.

donut-girl-2The two spent time on Pinterest looking at different kinds of playhouses. They found most had been built around the idea of fruits and vegetables.

“I asked her, I said, ‘Mal, do you want fruits and vegetables in your doughnut house?’ And she said, no, absolutely not, not happening. And I said, ‘Well, what do you want in it?’ And she goes, ‘Doughnuts.’ And that was the end of the story,” Ashley remembered.

It’s actually somewhere in the middle of the story.

Mallory was born with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in infants and children that attacks the sympathetic nervous system. She had bilateral tumors on her adrenal glands.

For the first year of her life, Mallory underwent surgeries and radiation treatments. She spent much of that year at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Childhood cancer is- I mean, all cancer is ugly, but childhood cancer is ugly and kids go through a nasty fight,” Mallory’s dad, Ryan, said as he looked back on his daughter’s battle. “There’s a whole floor devoted to childhood cancer at the Helen DeVos and it’s full all the time. There’s kids up there fighting for their lives and our daughter was one of them.”

“I’s a drain on not just the child, but the whole family, emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially,” Ryan continued.

It took about a year of fighting every day, but eventually Mallory went into remission. The cancer was gone.

donut-girl-1That’s where the doughnut shop comes in.

When Mallory was offered a wish, her family and the Make-A-Wish Foundation sat down with Wayne Visbeen of Grand Rapids-based Visbeen Architects and drew out a blueprint and sketches of what the dream playhouse would look like.

Visbeen passed his design off to a company in Alberta, Canada called Charm Playhouses. They’re a new business that makes specialized child playhouses. They took Mallory’s to a different level, installing lights and a chandelier, and a quartz countertop.

“We don’t even have quartz countertops in our house,” Ashley said. “This is phenomenal. From going from three years ago to today, we never expected this. Not in our wildest dreams.”

The doughnut shop playhouse was delivered to the family’s home on Thursday.

Standing in the backyard, there was a little 3-year-old girl; cured of cancer, laughing, playing and just being a normal child. There were two parents with hearts full of joy. And there was as team of people from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Visbeen Architects and Charm Playhouses that made one girl’s dream a reality.

“The best part of today was probably when they pulled that truck down the street and we brought her out to look at it and she knew from the minute she saw it that that was hers and this was her wish,” Ryan said with a smile. “She just lit right up. This was everything she could’ve dreamed of and more.”

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