It is a dream come true for a 13-year-old girl from Pansy.
Fallon Steeves has been on the kidney transplant waiting list for three years. Her failing health and the variables for transplants have made it difficult to find a match, especially since she is adopted from Ukraine.
Despite the struggles, her mother, Sharon Steeves, shares that her daughter is “very musical” and “loves to sing and perform.”
“One Sunday many moons ago, Fallon was singing the song Dolly sings with Zach Williams, I believe There Was Jesus. Fallon was singing beside the TV, doing the movements. And I said, ‘Oh, you're so like her.’ And she's like, ‘Why? She's blonde.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but she's tiny like you, and she's a really good singer like you.’ I didn't know much about Dolly at that time. Never really followed her over the years or anything,” Steeves explains.
When asked about her dream, Fallon said it was to meet the star and sing with her.
“I don't know how that's going to happen because she's like a mega big star. But, you know, The Dream Factory worked their butts off to make this happen,” she says.
The Dream Factory is a Manitoba-based charity whose mission is to make youths with life-threatening illnesses dreams come true, including Fallon’s.
The family travelled to Winnipeg to meet Parton on a Zoom call. Steeves says they talked about songwriting and Parton’s theme park, Dollywood.
“Fallon asked Dolly, ‘How long does it take you to write a song?’ And Dolly told her, ‘Well, I can write a song in 10 or 15 minutes. Doesn't have to be a very good one, but that's what I can do. I've been writing songs for a very long time.’ And then Dolly said, ‘If you ever come down to Dollywood, we can sing a song together.’ I'm hoping Dolly’s people can make this happen for Fallon,” she explains.
For Fallon, she witnessed the performance of a lifetime: a personal concert by Parton.
“Dolly sang I Will Always Love You and pointed to Fallon, and Fallon's face honestly lit up like a candle,”
She says she is grateful for the opportunity to see her daughter’s dream fulfilled.
On the way home, Steeves says they were “swamped” in the car by the balloons the Dream Factory gifted, and all they listened to was the star’s hit, Jolene. She adds Fallon is still on cloud nine.
“She's been going to school every day this week, covered in sparkles and rhinestones and a shirt with Dolly Parton pictured on the front,”
As for Fallon’s health, Steeves says they have had “a lot of ups and downs.”
Three weeks ago, Sharon and Fallon stayed in the hospital for five days due to heart failure and high potassium levels and blood pressure.
In the case of her kidney search, they are still on the hunt for a match.
“They haven't been able to find a good match. There have been times that she's been taken off the list because her hemoglobin is too low,” she shares. “They won't do transplants. So, our big job at home as her parents are trying to keep her as stable as possible. If we and when we get the call, she's ready to go,”
The hospital trips and time away from family have encouraged the community to lend a helping hand, which Steeves is grateful for.
“I'm so blown away by them,” she says. “Work was great, they accommodated. People in our community and our church family and our local area, they came, and brought meals to Rob and the kids when I was gone. He didn't have that stress, so he could come and visit and see me, do other stuff with the kids. People have been so good. We're back to having to pay for all our medications again because of the amount of meds some of our kids are on. We know that, and God is good, and it's just been an interesting journey.”
To learn more about becoming an organ donor, visit Transplant Manitoba’s website.
With files from Carly Koop.
Check out this video of Fallon on a Zoom call with Dolly Parton: