Behind The Wish - Aaron and Maree Lucas

Meet Maree and Aaron Lucas - mother and son volunteers with the Hobart Branch since 2006.

Since Aaron had his own wish granted as a 17-year-old, he and his mother have been immersed in Make-A-Wish matters.

Behind The Wish is our series of inspirational reads diving into the everyday superheroes involved in creating life-changing wishes.


Wish comes true as Aaron appears on TV show

Aaron: I was 17 and a half when my wish happened. My wish was to see the show Australia’s Funniest Home Videos made and fly to Sydney to meet the host Jo-Beth Taylor and she asked if I wanted to co-host a segment with her.
And of course, I said yes. I nearly fainted but I said yes. And so back in 1993 my wish came true.

We stayed at a nice hotel over the road from Manly Beach. Mum, dad, and my little brother Isaac, came with me. And we spent a week in Sydney and then the episode was aired just before my 18th birthday. During the credits it said, ‘wishing you a happy birthday tomorrow, Aaron’.

And I got a passionate kiss from Jo-Beth.

Maree: It was a kiss on the cheek, not a passionate kiss!

A: She was engaged to a musician at the time. She was absolutely lovely. I went back in 1997 to catch up with her but she took sick, and they got a replacement – it was Catriona Rowntree. And then I went back up in 2011 and it was 15 years later from the wish, and they wanted me to do a segment with the host Shelley Craft, so I did.

In 2011 they said they wanted to do a reunion thing with me.

I was 17, nearly 18, when I had my wish, and it was the greatest day of my life. And even today I still talk about it. Meeting my idol Jo-Beth, watching my favourite TV show being put together.

Jo-Beth keeps in touch. We caught up with her in Queensland in 2011. She’s now living in WA, she’s married with one child.

M: Aaron’s wish was very early in the whole wish program in Tassie. I don’t even remember how we found out about getting a wish granted. He was very quick to say what he wanted, to meet Jo-Beth Taylor. He just couldn’t wait. But I remember the moment in the Green Room when Jo-Beth said ‘Would you like to co-host with me?’ - he nearly fainted. We weren’t expecting that. We just thought we would get to have a look around the studio.

And even when we were there when Shelley Craft was hosting, we didn’t expect Aaron to be on TV, but he was.


Desire to give back and help other wish kids

Aaron: In 2006 my wish impacted me so much I decided I wanted to give other sick children a chance to have their wish granted and that’s when I became a Make-A-Wish volunteer.

I say to people that I’m giving back. I enjoy it. It puts a real smile on my face. I know it’s not a job, but I treat it as a job as I can’t work full-time.

At the moment I am an observer – I can’t be a leader or a regular contributor – so I just do whatever I am asked to do.

I was there for Lilah’s fairy wish. We all had to dress up as fairies. I was wearing kind of an elf suit: green top, regular trousers and some wings. Lilah is a lovely girl, she called me 'Fairy Aaron' and that stuck.

Whenever we see her, she still calls me 'Fairy Aaron'. She is a very outgoing little girl. She will remember the wish forever.


Heart defect leads to challenging life

Aaron: I was born with a congenital heart defect and when I was seven months old, I had a stroke and that has left me paralysed down the left side. And the doctor said to my parents ‘he will be lucky if he passes 20', and I’m now 48.

Maree: The doctor said his heart might last for five years; it might last for 20 years. We are pretty amazed. Aaron often says, ‘you got that wrong’. It was devastating, seeing him have a stroke while he was in Sydney. He was in hospital and they were having a look at his heart. They never did operate on his heart.

A: If they did it now, it would be a very high-risk operation and it would be a heart and lung transplant. I would have to be on death’s door to go ahead with it. It’s been a matter of learning to live with it.

M: Lots of physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy. He’s come a long way. He has a little bit of a limp and his left arm has a mind of its own. His right arm is high functioning, his left hand is low functioning.

A: My life is average; I would say it’s average. It’s a challenge. I just take things as they come. Working with Make-A-Wish gives me joy, whether it is going to fundraisers or meetings or wishes. Apart from that I go on the computer and keep an eye on the real estate market. And I drive occasionally.


Aaron's new fundraising challenge

Aaron: I would be devastated if there was no Make-A-Wish.

We are on the same page at the Hobart Branch. Cam Scott has done a wonderful job and Kell Lesa is co-president with Cam and she is doing a fantastic job.

Maree: I think we are close in the Branch. We seem to know each other well. That’s a bit how Hobart is, we are all super friendly as people. We have all known each other for quite a while. Aaron has a special job in the branch.

A: I do the birthdays for the branch. It started out with cards; I would send them out. Then when technology came in, we changed to text and video calls. And now I have a thing on my phone, I send e-cards out. I text or email the e-card to them. I think someone came up to me and asked if I wanted to do the birthdays and I said yes.

M: He has got an amazing memory for birthdays.

A: Having been Birthday Coordinator for many years I am excited about a new challenge the Hobart Team have asked me to take on where I’ll organise Wish Tins. I will go to businesses who support Make-A-Wish to see if they want to take a Make-A-Wish tin and display on their front desk or counter so when people buy things from these businesses, they might like to make a donation. I hope they do.

Maree and Aaron have been proud volunteers since 2006