If you could wish for anything what would it be? As hard as a decision as this is to make for most of us, for young Damien, age 12, it was a no-brainer. This week the ROM and Make-A-Wish Canada teamed up to help grant Damien—who has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—his wish to be a paleontologist for a day and work alongside curators behind the scenes. The ROM facilitated this by providing a gallery tour with Dr. Hans Larsson and Dr. David Evans, after which they moved into the private collections and finally concluded in Brian Iwama’s palaeobiology lab.
Since he was a little boy Damien has had a fascination with dragons, which transformed into a love of dinosaurs. This was extremely evident in the young dinosaur enthusiast as he toured the ROM’s galleries and labs discussing fossils and discoveries with the experts. Damien shared his impressive knowledge and passion of dinosaurs as he carried conversations with Evans and Larsson like a seasoned palaeontologist.
“I wanted to come here because I just like dinosaurs, period,” said Damien “I’m walking on cloud nine. I’ve just experienced the best day ever.”
Immersed in the ROM’s collections, Damien’s eyes lit up with an eagerness to see and learn it all from two of his idols. It was truly inspiring.
Damien is a veritable “palaeo-wunderchild”, and the ROM and Make-A-Wish, along with Drs Larsson and Evans are all very pleased to have been able to help make his wish come true.