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Calgary boy's lizard dream comes true thanks to Make-A-Wish

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Disneyland trips and gaming consoles are popular wishes granted for children facing serious illnesses, but one Calgary boy dreamed of a lizard instead.

"They're fast and they're just so cute," explained six-year-old Archer Daniel.

Archer was diagnosed at two with a rare type of cancer and the isolation of the treatment followed by the pandemic led him to relate with the animals.

"They're solitary creatures and we had to isolate for a lot of time, so maybe Archer identifies with reptiles for that reason," said Archer's dad, Graham Daniel.

Only a handful of cases of epithelioid inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcoma have been reported worldwide.

Archer's family said his cancer was only detected after they pressed for an ultrasound and urge others who think there is something wrong to advocate for their health.

Archer received a new kind of treatment in collaboration with Alberta Children's Hospital and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in the United States that saved his life.

Being immuno-compromised, he had to isolate during treatment.

Then, the pandemic hit and he had to isolate again.

He passed the time caring for a life-sized rubber lizard.

"He was real to Archer. He bathed him he brought him everywhere – he had him on a leash," said Archer's mom, Jill Daniel.

Then, Make-A-Wish heard about his dream, and got him a real pet lizard instead, and everything needed to care for him.

"His name is Spike and he's really cute and he loves lentils," said Archer.

"It is a uromastyx and it's a vegetarian, so (it) doesn't eat crickets, woo hoo!" proclaimed his mom, who did not want bugs in her house.

Make-A-Wish heard about six-year-old Archer Daniel's dream, and got him a pet lizard, and everything needed to care for him.

Archer calls himself Spike's "dad" and showers his pet with affection, including kisses every night before bed.

The whole family has fallen in love with the little lizard and are thankful to have him.

"It's definitely the beginning to an end of a very scary emotional upside-down roller coaster for our entire family. It's brought him so much joy," said Jill Daniel.

"Thank you," said Archer to Make-A-Wish.

Archer also has advice for other kids facing serious illnesses.

"Just don't worry about anything and keep going."

Archer is thrilled his scary chapter is over and led to a new, better one.

This year, Make-A-Wish Canada is celebrating 40 years of making dreams come true for children facing critical illnesses, and has granted more than 37, 000 wishes.

Make-A-Wish heard about six-year-old Archer Daniel's dream, and got him a pet lizard, and everything needed to care for him.

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