Leif is a shy but playful 5-year-old boy who loves nothing more than playing make-believe. Through the pages of his favorite book series, Okee Dokee, he is able to join his favorite characters as they embark on voyages through time. From the Appalachian Mountains to the wild west and down the Mississippi River, Leif is not confined to his hospital bed when he is immersed in his stories.
In his battle against leukemia, a special gift in the form of a wish-come-true helped replenish Leif’s strength. When deciding on his wish, there were three requirements; there must be sand, a pirate ship and quality family time. A beach getaway to Hilton Head, North Carolina was the perfect fit.
Ahoy matey! And welcome aboard the Black Dagger pirate ship.
Dressed in breeches, a bandana, and mustache, Leif was ready to take on his mission as the first mate aboard the ship and take down the evil pirate, Stinky Pete. Working closely with the crew, Leif shot water cannons at Stinky Pete hoping to knock him off his ship. After countless hours of strategic strikes, Leif aimed just right and launched the final shot that took down the villainous pirate. The crew all sang in celebration. Leif was the hero.
“Watching him play with other kids who did not know he was sick was amazing,” Emily, Leif’s mom, shared.
On days when treatment is particularly difficult, Leif and his family look through their photo album reminiscing over the fun times they had together on his wish. “We play pirates daily, and the sword he brought home is a physical reminder of the inner strength and bravery Leif has.”