Thirteen-year-old Johnny Martin’s love for dogs first began during his strenuous chemotherapy for soft cell cancer.
For more than a year, Martin spent nearly every weekday at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Fox Denver reports, for cancer treatment.
The rare form of cancer has been taxing for the teenager. Along with receiving chemotherapy, Martin also underwent a surgery to completely remove the cancer growing in his chest that reportedly took an operating team 26 hours to finish.
“I wouldn’t wish that kind of surgery on anyone. We were scared he might not pull through,” Johnny’s mother, Michelle Boyer, told the outlet.
But as Martin experienced the turbulent chemotherapy sessions, he found solace in the view out the window, a dog park. In fact, he would share his aspirations to one day have his own “dream corgi dog.”
“It was all he wanted to talk about, so we knew we needed to get in touch with an organization that could fulfill that wish for him,” Jessica King, a social worker at Lurie Children’s Hospital, told Fox Denver.
In order to make Martin’s wish a reality, the hospital reached out to Little Wish Foundation, a nonprofit that brings children joy amid their cancer battles.
Thanks to the nonprofit, and in particular the group’s founder, Liz Niemiec, the young boy received an adorable black-and-white corgi as he was exiting the hospital’s front doors with his family.
Martin was immediately shocked but thrilled to get a new pup, and was given several loving licks from the corgi.
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Niemic told Fox Denver about how she had previously witnessed someone’s life change when they were given a puppy, just like Martin’s did.
“I was 16 years old when I started Little Wish Foundation, and it was in memory of my friend Max, who battled kidney cancer,” she said. “Before Max passed away his last wish was to get a puppy. I never forgot what a big difference and impact it made on his life.
Martin is still undergoing chemotherapy, according to Fox Denver, but the teenager told the outlet that as of around a month ago, he is completely cancer free — and now has his own puppy to celebrate with.