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Firefighters fulfill dream for special Pueblo West girl

Jillian Dasher gets new backyard playground

Firefighters fulfill dream for...

PUEBLO WEST, Colo. - Jillian Dasher is only 10 years old but has endured two big health challenges.

She's in remission from leukemia and is a Down syndrome patient.

But Jillian has a positive outlook.

"I'm happy," she said Sunday at her Pueblo West home.

Jillian's mother, Amy Dasher, said her daughter's longtime dream is a new backyard playground.

"We've just never fulfilled her wish because we have a large family, 14 kids, and it's hard for us to take trips," Dasher said.

In four hours on Sunday morning, two dozen firefighters from Pueblo and Pueblo West made Jillian's dream come true by building a playground.

It has slides, swings, rope ladders and Jillian's favorite item.

"Monkey bars," she said.

"The Dasher family actually is a relative of one our firefighters," Brian Caserta, a Pueblo West firefighter, said.  "That made it even more special to us."

Some of the workers had Sunday off while others worked before, during or after their shifts.

"Maybe the hardest part is that we had too much help," Tim Trujillo, a Pueblo firefighter, said with a smile.  "Everyone wanted to get involved."

Dream Weavers of Southern Colorado, an organization that helps 122 kids with life-threatening illnesses, sponsored the project.

Karen Conry has directed the organization for 20 years and said she'll leave her job soon.

"I got into it because my son was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 9 years old," she said.  "He's still here, and so are most of the kids we've served."

Dasher said the playground is especially welcome because the family has three young adopted kids who also have Down syndrome.

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