Charity fills sick children's wishes

Feeling better:
Recovering youngsters get toy-store spree as reward for bravery.

From where he sat Saturday morning, perched on his father's hip, he could wave his 2-year-old hand in the general direction of the toy-jammed shelves at Toys R Us, and Dad would drop the prize in the cart.

By the time the pair had reached the neighboring aisle Dakota had taken foot, cut out the middle man ad let the charge of toy commando.

His missions: to bring home $2,600 worth of toys.

The hour of shopping, unencumbered by cost concerns and parental prodding for educational (and not fun) toys came as a gift from the Debbie Chisholm Foundation, a charity that grants wishes to children like Dakota Ortiz and Breanna Aspell, who have suffered debilitating illness.

Dakota and Breanna are friends; they met through over-lapping rounds of chemotherapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Their travels together took a welcome turn when Breanna grabbed Dakota's had and headed into the store.

"This is the greatest," said Michael Aspell of Palm Desert, as he watched his 7-year-old daughter add a couple of toys for her little brother to the third cart she's filled.

"She was so excited she slept in her clothes last night. I'm just happy there's people out there that can make the kids so happy," Aspell said.

Breanna was diagnosed with leukemia in January. She is already in remission, her father said.

Behind the wheels: Dakota Ortiz (above), 3, already knew where his favorite toy was at Toys R Us - a large car that he'll be able to drive. Breanna Aspell (right) uses both hands to load toys into her basket. The children were able to select toys because of a gift from the Debbie Chisholm Memorial Foundation.

Among the loads of nearly all-things Barbie was a bike, a life vest for the family's new boat and wagon for family outings like the Ronald McDonald Christmas in July part.

"She gets tired real easy," Aspell said. But things are looking up and the chemotherapy is tapering off.

It was little more than ago when Max and Lauralee Ortiz discovered a protrusion from Dakota's side. A few days later, he had lost a kidney.

Dakota spent the next six months undergoing chemotherapy and low-level radiation for clear cell circoma, a rare form of kidney cancer.

"Clinically, he's cured," Max Ortiz said. "But he still has to be watched."

That means check-ups every three months for the next two years.

"Our world just ended. Nothing else mattered but to get our son well again. It's a miracle," Ortiz said. "A lot of kids we met either died or are doing very (poorly)."

The foundation makes a point to help children who are recovering not just those who have no chance.

The wishes not only reward children for their bravery and hardship, but give them and their parents a break from being sick and a chance to enjoy being