Kids & Family

Terminally Ill Boy Gets 'Treehouse of His Dreams'

When a non-profit heard his story, they did everything they could to make his dream come true.


Lorenzo Andrade-Cruz is only 8 years old, but he already knows how important it is to live life to the fullest.

Cruz has a terminal illness called ALD, a hereditary condition that damages the membranes that protect nerve cells in the brain. He lost two of his brothers to the same condition, and while Cruz is still in good health, his health is likely to change for the worse.

When Jamie's Dream Team, a non-profit in the Pittsburgh area that grants wishes to qualifying families, heard Cruz's story, they knew they wanted to do something to help. The Andrade-Cruz family lives in North Carolina, and when Jamie Ward, owner of the non-profit, heard that the boy has always wanted a tree house in his backyard, she reached out to the family and started making plans.

(Source: Jamie's Dream Team Facebook )

"Lorenzo was so sweet, he said, 'I won't be able to walk or talk, but I would love a treehouse,' so he knows what's going to happen to him and it tore me to pieces," Ward told ABC News.

Ward organized a team of volunteers, including Pittsboro man Steve Smith (pictured below). Smith lost his son to cancer, and after hearing Lorenzo's story he called to volunteer. Since he had a carpentry background, he was named as the project's team lead.

(Source: Jamie's Dream Team Facebook )

The team quickly got to work, and with the help of a few Durham firefighters and local businesses that pitched in materials, they were able to finish the treehouse in a month.

"It makes me feel so good to be able to do this for [Lorenzo] and to see the community come up to help. We even had veterans at Fort Bragg come from three hours away to help, it was unbelievable," Ward said.

The treehouse has a ramp leading from the driveway to the front door, making it easy for a wheelchair to navigate. The space is tricked out with iPads, X-Box 360 and a flat screen TV. There's a deck in the back that overlooks the woods, with a small table and chairs.

"We positioned it strategically to make sure that the deck was facing the woods, things like that," Smith said. "So once he does come in and he shuts the door, he pretty much is in his own world out here. It's really a powerful thing."

In a follow up story with ABC11-TV , Cruz was all smiles as he explored his new treehouse with his younger sister.

"I got a TV for myself," he said excitedly.

We're sure that Cruz and his family will enjoy the "treehouse of his dreams" for many days to come.

(Source: ABC11-TV )

You can donate to Jamie's Dream Team by visiting their website .

To learn more about ALD, click here .

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