Terry starry-eyed at moon wish!
Terry Francis just thought it was out of this world the day Make-A-Wish sent his sick grandson Dwayne to the ‘moon’.
Out of this world
Dwayne, who experiences regular seizures from his epilepsy, told Make-A-Wish he wanted to go to the moon because it’s full of aliens and a couple of his favourite people – Spiderman and Batman.
Terry, 71, was a successful businessman in the transport industry and knew hardly anything about Make-A-Wish. And when he found out his grandson's wish was granted he thought it would be “a small party in the Qantas lounge with a few gifts”.
“Little did we know it took Qantas 12 months with 60 of their people meeting every Monday morning and it just grew with so many companies getting involved,” Terry said.
A space odyssey
The wish started at Adelaide airport where Dwayne was greeted by cheering fans, giant billboards from oOh! media, and a Stormtrooper escort to his specially chartered Qantas ‘rocket’ flight.
A nearby hangar provided the perfect lunarscape, where Dwayne planted his hand-drawn flag on the moon and hunted for moonrocks with aliens and his favourite superheroes.
Terry was gob-smacked when he saw how elaborate the wish was. He said Make-A-Wish dressed he and wife Nolda up in space hats so Dwayne, then aged 4, wouldn’t recognise them.
“I had never heard of Make-A-Wish before and I didn’t think there were people who would put time and effort into something that they didn’t get a monetary return for, but this was people wanting to do something for a very sick little boy.”Terry Dwayne's Grandad
The support of strangers
The Wish Force
Terry said he was overjoyed to not only see Dwayne’s face but the faces of Dwayne’s parents Rebecca and Phil.
“I was very emotional, very happy for Rebecca and Phil – I couldn’t comprehend what people can do,” Terry said.
“Make-A-Wish and Qantas were amazing and even the group of people from Star Wars that came to the airport for the wish.
“Those eight people have come to his last two birthday parties and dressed up in their uniforms and brought presents – and we didn’t ask or expect them to come.
“It’s changed my life. I am a pretty hard businessman but it has certainly changed my whole life. I didn’t know it all, I didn’t know there were people out there like that.”Terry Dwayne's Grandad
A new perspective
Hope for the future
Terry said Dwayne’s wish inspired him to get involved with Make-A-Wish branches in Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
He was also moved to create framed pictures he sent to thank Qantas and Make-A-Wish staff. They read “Grandparents Award: Dreams Can Come True”.
“Words weren’t enough, because every time I tried to talk about it it just cuts me – it makes me very emotional,” he said.
“There are lot of caring people out there.”
Terry said it was not only the wish day that lifted the spirits of Dwayne and his parents, but also the anticipation of the wish happening.
“My daughter Rebecca used to sit for 30 days in a small hospital room with a TV showing cartoons looking after a sick child with nowhere else to go,” he said.
“Not just Rebecca other people do the same thing. They have lost their lives, they do it because it’s their child.
“The anticipation – the 6 months lead up - did wonders for my daughter. It gave her hope that something good was going to happen.”