Chesapeake, VA (ABC News) – Facing a fourth battle with cancer, 8-year-old David Spisak Jr. of Chesapeake, Virginia has found more in his past few months on Earth than many do in a lifetime: the love of his life.
First diagnosed with leukemia when he was 2, David beat cancer three times before his more recent diagnosis in March, receiving two transplants and going through extensive chemotherapy treatment.
Six years on, and seven months since his second transplant, a fourth cancer diagnosis meant David would have to spend more time in the hospital, isolated from friends and unable to play with other kids.
Seeing the toll cancer and treatment had taking on David’s life, the Spisaks decided to give their son a “slice of life.”
“We just decided it was time to give him a childhood,” Amber Spisak, David’s mom, told ABC News. “If the outcome was going to be the same, if he was going to continue to get cancer, we decided that if he wasn’t going to win, that we would give him everything right now.”
She also wrote in a fundraising campaign set for David online, “No more isolation from people or places, restrictions, living in hospitals; only swimming pools, going places, fun, playing with other kids, going hard and fast to make it count!”
In March, doctors told the family, without treatment, David would live four to six weeks. When months passed and David looked well, the Spisaks decided to let him go back to school in September, where he started second grade until he couldn’t attend anymore because of the disease. There, the child found something his parents were not expecting: love.
The Spisaks knew David had a crush on Ayla, a girl in his class, but it wasn’t until classmates sent letters to David after he was pulled out of school that they understood how serious the “crush” was. Not only had 7-year-old Ayla sent multiple letters with her phone number “all over,” his classmates also wrote David about how much Ayla missed him.
“That’s where we sort of put together that this was something more,” Spisak said, adding David called Ayla his girlfriend. “He’s a typical boy, it really took us off guard; he said, ‘Actually, she’s kind of like the real Snow White because she’s so kind, especially to me because she loves me.”
Spisak then talked to Ayla’s mother and planned a date for the kids. David called Ayla and formally asked her out, meeting her at a bowling alley with a teddy bear and flowers. The 7-year-old girl ran to David’s wheelchair when they met, later pushing it around and helping him with the bowling balls during their date.
“We were all so taken aback by their bond, their connection there,” Spisak told ABC News. “No one else was allowed to touch him. They stayed together the entire time. His dad and I kept trying to stay close behind him to make sure he wouldn’t fall, but he kept trying to be with her and taking her help. It was so natural, there was no hesitation from neither one of them. They just wanted to be together.”
By the end of the date, David had lived more than many 8-year-olds: he had his first date and his first kiss (on the cheek). At one point, he even stood up from his chair, walked and bowled standing up, his mother said.
“He was just so determined for her, he really pushed himself for her,” Spisak said. “Once we realized that this wasn’t the typical elementary school crush, once we saw this heartfelt connection that they have, we were so happy that she came into his life and that he came to her life for some reason.
“We never thought he was going to ever experience this because his time is so limited, but we saw it and it’s real,” she said.