Make-A-Wish comes through for Littleton teen

Pizza night is reminder of time before illness

Posted 2/8/16

Like a lot of 13-year-olds, Darious Gallegos thought it would be a good idea for his family to go out for pizza.

Unlike a lot of 13-year-olds, Darious has a potentially fatal form of cancer, and asked to go out for pizza as part of his …

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Make-A-Wish comes through for Littleton teen

Pizza night is reminder of time before illness

Posted

Like a lot of 13-year-olds, Darious Gallegos thought it would be a good idea for his family to go out for pizza.

Unlike a lot of 13-year-olds, Darious has a potentially fatal form of cancer, and asked to go out for pizza as part of his Make-A-Wish request.

And so Darious with his father, stepmother, sisters, uncle and friend all ventured out into the snowy weather on Feb. 1 to enjoy a meal at Woody’s Pizza in Golden.

“We used to be here pretty regularly ‘til Darious got sick,” father Dustin Gallegos said.

“It’s just nice to sit down and enjoy this with my family,” Darious said, reminiscing about how the family would spend many summer weekends taking a hike in the area before stopping for pizza at Woody’s. The barbecue chicken bacon pizza is still his favorite.

The diagnosis of stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma came on Jan. 17, 2015. For the last year the family says hospital stays and debilitating chemotherapy have become facts of life.

“But right now, everyone’s mood is great though,” said Dustin Gallegos.

The teenager’s spirits are high, and there is a plan to seek experimental treatments out of state. Plus, the family says the outpouring of generosity from across Colorado has been a welcome surprise, and very appreciated. Among the highlights: the Broncos have provided Darious with a game ball signed by John Elway, and Woody’s arranged for a couple of the Broncos cheerleaders to stop by and make the meal even more memorable.

Another wish that Darious has is to become a YouTube star. The Make-A-Wish Foundation helped him toward that dream with an in-home webcasting studio, complete with a new desk, webcam, mic, tablet and laptop for his bedroom in Littleton. Darious says he hopes to emulate popular video creators like Markiplier, Jackseptic and Pewdiepie. 

“He didn’t know all of what he needed, just knew what he wanted,” said Make-A-Wish coordinator Jennifer Getsch. “So we had our IT department research what equipment would be best.”

Getsch said that when a child’s wish doesn’t involve any sort of travel, the group likes to set up a special dinner to help the child and family celebrate the wish, and sends them to any restaurant of their choosing in a limo.

Woody’s manager Mick McManus said the call from Make-A-Wish to help Darious was “one of the greatest phone calls” he’d ever received.

“Someone has one wish, and they ask for our pizza ... that’s pretty awesome!” said McManus.

At the end of the family’s meal, McManus gave Darious a certificate for free lunch or dinner for a year.

Darious smiled throughout the meal, enjoyed teasing his sisters, and texting with his friend — getting to look and act like a normal teenager for one evening.

A waitress stopped by and asked if there was anyone interested in dessert.

“I want a brownie!” Darious said speedily.

Make-A-Wish Foundation, Darious Gallegos, Woody's Pizza, Denver Broncos cheerleaders

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