Urgent Wish Appeal
Right now, we have 34 kids who all deserve for their wish to come true, but they don’t have much time.
Your gift today has never been more important.
Jim was diagnosed with blood cancer when he was seven-years-old. This amazing young man spent the next few years bravely facing his condition but sadly, Jim is no longer with us. He passed away when he was just twelve years old.
Before Jim passed away, he was able to have an urgent wish. His wish was to be a train engineer and operate a real level crossing – sending the gates down to stop the traffic, with bells ringing and lights flashing.
Jim’s wish needed to happen quickly, and it was only possible thanks to the generous support of people like you. But right now, there are 34 more critically ill children who need an urgent wish – while there is still time. Give children like Jim and their families, a moment to look forward to, and look back on.
Though the loss of Jim is still so very raw for Jim’s parents, George and Sofia, they wanted to share their story with the wonderful supporters of Make-A-Wish, as a way to honour Jim’s memory and share the vital impact and importance that Jim’s wish had on the whole family in the past, and going into the future.
Sofia recently told us; “Our family is now an unfinished puzzle. There’s a huge piece missing, as we’re left to navigate the future without our Jim.”
Sofia described all the things she missed about her son. “His huge sense of adventure and courage. His love for life. He made the most of every day. He was always keeping his mind and hands busy with hobbies, mostly trains. He loved trains and everything about them.”
“Most of all,” she said, “I miss Jim’s wonderful laughter. I miss his cheeky smile.”
Of course, many Wish Kids go on to make a full recovery. But for some, like Jim, their illness just doesn’t let go. And it is for these children that we have urgent wishes.
This is a very special and rare type of wish, reserved for when a child’s doctors advise that their condition is quickly getting worse – and their time might be running out.
When the call comes through about a child and their family facing one of the darkest times in their lives, when they need the power and joy of an urgent wish, that’s when you see the Wish Force at its best.
The Wish Team must work around the clock. No time can be wasted. Working so quickly means urgent wishes require more money, more manpower, and more resources, at short notice. Every effort is made to make the wish as unique and special as possible for the child and their family.
But this can only happen if there are enough funds in place. As part of the Wish Force, will you make a generous donation today to help make urgent wishes come true for the 34 critically ill children who need one right now?
Jim’s cancer journey
Jim had lots of ups and downs on his blood cancer journey.
“It all began when Jim was seven,” said Sofia. “He was getting fevers; then he had a swollen knee. First, the doctors thought it was growing pains, then a virus, then arthritis. We took him to hospital for blood tests. At 3am, this mass of doctors came in and told us the news.”
“Hearing our beautiful boy had blood cancer, it was awful. Just awful. I thought it was the most horrific day of my life. If only I knew… there was even worse to come.”
Straightaway Jim started the most intensive chemotherapy. Can you think of anything more terrifying? He was just a regular seven-year-old boy. Out of the blue, he found himself in hospital – dealing with scary needle injections, and facing hours of chemotherapy treatments via tubes and machines; which made him feel even more sick and nauseous.
“Blood cancer changed everything for Jim, for his big brother, Alec and sister, Julia. Before, I guess we didn’t know how lucky we were. Our lives were all about enjoying time together, playing at the playground, going to the movies. Just being a family. Being happy.”
“The diagnosis changed all that. It was nothing but hospital visits, treatments and isolation, even at Christmas. Blood cancer robbed Jim and his siblings of their childhood.”
Urgency can arrive in a single moment
That’s why Sofia & George first contacted Make-A-Wish, to bring some joy to Jim and their family. And it was no surprise what he wished for.
“Jim was an old soul, wise beyond his years. He had a major train obsession and wanted to be a train engineer. So his wish was to go to Melbourne and ride the Puffing Billy Train.”
“The wish was planned for one year after his diagnosis when it looked like he was turning a corner. But just when we were getting ready to go to Melbourne, we had devastating news. Jim’s blood cancer had come back. It was crushing.”
Jim was rushed back to hospital for more intensive chemotherapy. But that wasn’t enough. He underwent a bone marrow transplant. Still, the blood cancer kept spreading.
Then his fragile body reacted badly to the transplant. He developed a severe lung condition and could only breathe with an oxygen tank.
It was at this time that the call came through to us. Tragically, Jim’s short life was coming to an end. He needed an urgent wish.
The team here reacted in the way they always do – with total commitment and compassion. They worked night and day to adapt the plans for Jim’s wish so that it could happen near the family home in Adelaide – as soon as possible.
Jim didn’t even have to leave home for the first part of his wish. The wish team worked closely with Sydney Trains, letting them know lots of details about what Jim was most passionate about. They organised for Sydney Trains to send him a package with every possible piece of engineering kit – a hat and vest with his name on it, lights, signs, control boxes, and even a whole level crossing gate.
“It was a massive surprise when the package arrived,” said Sofia. “As Jim went through everything, piece by piece, he was literally screaming with joy. ‘I can’t believe it,’ he kept saying. ‘I can’t believe it. I’ve always wanted this! How did they know?’”
A moment to look back on
The second part of Jim’s wish was a unique and unforgettable experience. “We were told that Jim was needed for a special engineering job – at his favourite level crossing.”
“So Jim reported for duty, wearing his hat and vest. A whole engineering team from Adelaide Trains was ready and waiting.”
“They gave Jim the keys to the signal box. It was like the keys to the city. He opened it up and spoke to the engineers about how it worked. They were astounded by his knowledge.”
“Jim’s next job was operating the level crossing. He pressed the button, and the gate went down, lights flashing and bells ringing. The cars stopped. Then he raised the gate and waved the cars through. And then he did it all again!”
“The boss congratulated Jim on a job well done and gave him a present to take home – a level crossing bell. You should have seen the smile on his face.”
Jim’s wish is a moment his family will always look back on with joy and gratitude. It is a memory they will hold onto forever after their unimaginable loss.
“I will never forget when we were at the level crossing, and I asked him, ‘Do you want me to video this?!’ ‘No, mummy,’ he said. ‘It’s in my heart. It’s in my heart.’”Sofia mum of Jim, 12, diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia
Today, you can give those 34 boys and girls, who need an urgent wish right now, a moment that they will feel so deeply in their heart. And for their families, you can create a memory they will hold in their hearts forever.
Please, give a generous gift today so critically ill children and their families can fill their hearts with the joy of a wish that they so urgently need.