Dashiell Codd went to Disneyland with his family Monday.
It was part of the 5-year-old’s dream that was being fulfilled through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He started off bashful and nervous in the park, his mother, Pam, said. He’s always been that way, even before he was diagnosed in March with a rare liver cancer and had to endure almost contestant prodding, procedures and needles.
But then he met Winnie the Pooh.
“I think this was the first time he understood that this was a place just for kids,” Pam said. “The rest of the day was just cotton candy and giant corn dogs.”
"…and Star Tours,” Dashiell’s father, Brian, interrupted.
“Dashiell, how did you fight Darth Vader?” Brian asked.
Dashiell put down his cereal and stretched out his arm to demonstrate:
“The Force,” he said.
The Codds, who make their home in Iowa, are spending the week in a house on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. Burr White Realty temporarily donated the home to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help fulfill the Codds’ wish to stay in a beachfront property, go to a theme park and see family in California.
On Thursday they headed to Knott’s Berry Farm.
Dashiell has endured repeated rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to battle nodules on his liver.
Each time his parents are amazed by his rapid recovery.
But they’re as much in the dark about a prognosis for Dashiell as doctors are because of the oddity of his disease.
“There’s almost nothing known about how to effectively treat it,” Brian said.
Even after a transplant, the cancer continually returns, and doctors have begun walking a fine line between treatment and maintaining quality of life, he added.
During this break in Dashiell’s treatment, Pam and Brian, took the chance to take him and his two brothers to California and live out a dream.
“I want this time spent being as happy as we could possibly be,” Pam said. “I will regret if I spent my time crying and whining and saying, ‘Why me?’ but I’ll never regret having been happy,” Pam said. “I can crash and burn later. Right now in this time while we have him, we have the luxury of time with him.”
That attitude has spawned on online following, Dashiell’s “Mahna Mahna” Page, where hundreds of people can post messages or videos supporting Dashiell.
After a procedure in a Cincinnati hospital around Christmas, Dashiell insisted his family go to the zoo and see Santa.
On the way home, he asked if they family could stop by White Castle, and, as he waited for his food, he watched an episode of “The Muppet Show.”
As furry, pink buffalo-esque aliens sang nonsensical “Mahna Mahna” lyrics, Dashiell emphatically joined them.
His mother was flabbergasted, she said.
“So you’ve been going through all these surgeries and all this chemo, yet you still have this happiness and all this joy in your heart to sing?” she asked in the moment.
From that night, Dashiell’s “Mahna Mahna” Page was born on Facebook to pool his happiness with anyone else who wanted to share theirs.
“That’s the whole point,” Pam said. “Yes, there are these things going on, but you can’t let it dictate your spirit. You can’t let it knock you down.”