At only four years of age, Katie was diagnosed with leukaemia. In an instant, family life was turned upside down. Within hours of diagnosis, Katie was admitted to hospital in Sydney, 350 kilometres away from home, and only days later started painful chemotherapy that would continue for two long years. Katie never objected to treatment, but her fragile body didn't cope well. She contracted fungal pneumonia that put her life at serious risk.
During the tough times, having a cherished wish to see the dolphins and ride a rollercoaster at the Gold Coast theme parks with her family gave Katie something special to hold on to. However with Katie's mum having to give up work to be with her in hospital, money became very tight. The idea of Katie's wish coming true seemed impossible. Her mum, Nicola explains:
"A trip to the theme parks would have allowed us to be normal for a week. A trip allows a familyto forget their troubles, as it may be their last. But it's the last priority when you have a sick childand are dealing with the financial and emotional strain."
It is only because of the caring and generous support of Australians who donate through Make-A-Wish Australia, that we began the work to make Katie's cherished wish come true. Flights were organised, accommodation was booked, and theme park tickets arranged for Katie, her three sisters and mum and dad.
The anticipation of the wish gave Katie something to look forward to; a time of happiness, and a distraction from the pain of chemotherapy. But Nicola says Katie experienced much more than that:
"The wish gave Katie new confidence. It was wonderful to see. Being in hospital for so long, she had stopped developing in the areas that a child would normally develop. The wish gave her new energy for life."
After Katie's visit to the Gold Coast to see the dolphins and ride the rollercoaster, her cancer went into remission.
The granting of Katie's cherished wish helped her to get better. The research proves it!
Last year an independent research firm surveyed families whose sick children had experienced a wish come true through Make-A-Wish. 97% of families said there was a noticeable improvement in their child's mental and emotional health.
What's really wonderful is that 75% of parents reported their child's physical health improved! Children had increased energy PLUS improved physical strength PLUS a greater willingness to get stronger to support their treatment.
This is the kind of life-changing difference you can be part of alongside loving families and brilliant medical teams.
By helping to make a wish come true, the research shows you also help the parents and siblings of the sick child. In fact, 98% of parents said the wish helped give them hope and positive forward thinking. 100% said the wish gave them happy memories that would last forever!
What powerful reasons to help grant children's wishes through Make-A-Wish!
Unfortunately these wishes don't come cheap, and parents facing huge medical bills can never manage them on their own. That's why it takes caring people from across Australia to come together through Make-A-Wish. As Nicola says:
"Without the help of Make-A-Wish and your wonderful supporters, we could never have afforded this special family time. We can't thank them enough for what they have given us."
When a child like Katie makes a wish, whether it's for dolphins and rollercoasters, or snowmen and skiing, or horses and puppies, the wish is really for someone like you.
Because it's only someone like you who can help make these wishes come true. The life-changing difference can be you!
Make-A-Wish® Australia grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.