A Survivor's Second Wish
- Actor Johnny Depp, 59, made one girl’s world back in 2011 when he agreed to be the “wish” for a Make-A-Wish kid, and over a decade later, he’s still a hero as he writes the foreward for the published author’s children’s book.
- High school teacher Katie Vandrilla, 31, was battling leukemia 11 years ago when she decided that her wish was to meet Johnny Depp. The Make-A-Wish foundation delivered. Katie was flown from Connecticut to London to meet Johnny on set of Tim Burton’s film Dark Shadows.
- Blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, are cancers that primarily affect the bone marrow, the area in your bones where new blood cells are produced. Because they effect the bone marrow, blood cancers are different than solid tumors like those of the lung, prostate, and breasts.
High school teacher Katie Vandrilla, 31, was battling leukemia 11 years ago when she decided that her wish was to meet Johnny Depp. The Make-A-Wish foundation delivered, and so did Johnny! Katie, 16 at the time of her initial diagnosis, was flown from Connecticut to London to meet Mr. Depp on set of Tim Burton’s film Dark Shadows.Read More
Johnny’s life is currently on the upswing following a huge victory just weeks ago against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, 36, whom he sued for writing a defamatory piece about him in the Washington Post in 2018.
Throughout the public trial, Johnny gained a cult following of new fans who believed and supported the actor. Both parties in the marriage were clearly guilty of some highly toxic and disturbing behavior, but Johnny was largely found to be the victim, and not the other way around.
This endearing story is more aligned with the acts of kindness that Johnny is known for, and it’s nice to see that the world is giving him another chance. And it looks like this mega-fan never once turned her back on her “hero.”
During her cancer treatment, Katie started writing children’s books on a very amateur level and had no idea it would lead to her becoming a published author.
“It started as a therapeutic project for myself, then turned into something bigger that I continued to work on for a few years,” she explained of her hobby-turned-professional endeavor. “The story had to be fun, educational and inspiring,” she added.
She writes of a character named “Thumper” in a series first published in 2018. Paying it forward, the survivor donated royalties to Make-A-Wish.
“My Make-A-Wish sent me to a city I had never planned to travel, London, and is now a huge part of my life,” she said. “Giving back to Make-A-Wish is also a large aspect of my everyday life. Aside from my book, I volunteer as a wish granter to help other kids facing critical illnesses get their wish.”
Well, now she got another wish granted for herself, and as she should! Johnny Depp agreed to pen a foreward for the next book in her series, titled Thumper’s London Adventure, a story based off of her own life-changing journey to the city.
“For my dearest Katie, For her dear family and friends,” the Pirates of the Caribbean star begins in a typed letter labeled “June 17th, Paris” in the top-right corner.
“And for all the dear children out there, and for all their dear family and friends, that need that little bit of extra care and understanding right now. Please know that you are loved and that we are thinking of you all!”
Signing off with his signature and a simply typed, “Johnny,” the rest is history.
Learning About Leukemia
What is a cancer of the blood? These cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, are cancers that primarily affect the bone marrow, the area in your bones where new blood cells are produced.
Because they effect the bone marrow, blood cancers are different than solid tumors like those of the lung, prostate, and breasts.
Dr. Nina Shah, hematologist at UCSF, summarizes blood cancers by explaining, “One cell got really selfish and decided that it needed to take up all the resources of everybody else, and in doing so, took up space and energy from the rest of the body.”
Symptoms of leukemia can vary depending on the type of leukemia. Common signs and symptoms of the disease include:
- Fever or chills
- Persistent fatigue, weakness
- Frequent or severe infections
- Losing weight without tryin
- Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Recurrent nosebleeds
- Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
- Excessive sweating, especially at night
- Bone pain or tenderness
Here at SurvivorNet, we always encourage people to advocate for themselves when it comes to cancer and, more generally, health care. When it comes to a child, the parent must become the advocate. Although symptoms of Leukemia are often initially tough to identify, make sure to get your child checked out if something seems amiss, and don’t stop for answers until you find out what’s wrong.