KELOWNA —; It’s a rare lung disease that only a few patients in the province have and one of them is a 4-year-old girl in Kelowna named Isla Miller.
“Isla has something called Neuroendocrine Cell Hyperplasia of Infancy (NEHI) which is an Interstitial Lung Disease of Childhood. It is quite rare and there are only a couple of patients with this disease in British Columbia,” says Isla’s physician, Dr. Connie Yang.
Isla is adventurous and loves the outdoors but the B.C. Children’s Hospital patient has been battling the disease most of her life.
“We noticed right from birth that something was a little off with her,” says Isla’s mother Julie Miller.
Several tests, visits to the doctor and even hospital stays later, she was diagnosed at B.C. Children’s.
“If you were to breathe through a straw all day long, that’s the way she breathes all the time,” says Julie.
With the help of regular use of oxygen tanks, her health has improved over the years, but every day is a challenge for the little girl who just wants to go outside and play.
“She’s a little compounded with different issues because she’s also diagnosed with autism and global development delay,” says Julie.
Isla hasn’t been able to join her family on camping trips because of her health but this summer her wish will be granted.
Thanks to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and their partner, Voyager RV, the Miller family has been given a travel trailer worth more than $10,000.
“Through a series of conversations with our wish coordinator, we realized that she wanted to go camping and that she wanted a trailer, so this was the ideal solution for she and her family to enjoy camping” says Jennifer Petersen with the foundation.
Isla is one of thousands of kids the growing Canadian non-profit has granted wishes for this past year, which has been a record-breaking one.
“Across Canada this year, we have just granted the most-ever wishes in our 34-year history and that is just over 1,200 wishes,” says Petersen.
In the Okanagan, the foundation granted more than three times as many wishes as it did last year with 15 wishes in 2015 compared to four in the valley in 2014.