Harry's snowboarding adventure
Living in Perth, Harry has never had the opportunity to feel what it’s like to pick up a snowball. But in the many days he was laid low by his leukaemia, Harry thought a lot about going to the snow. Thanks to generous donors and supporters like you, Harry’s wish came true. This is his story.
Harry is just like other 14 year old boys. He likes being active but in recent years his acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has slowed him down.
He first got sick at age 9 and the suspicion was he had glandular fever. A series of medical consultations provided uncertainty not clarity until a call from an oncologist revealed the bad news to mum Marina.
“He said ‘I need Harry in the hospital’ and I said ‘We’re all going skiing’ and he said ‘He can’t go skiing, Harry’s got cancer and he needs to be in here to start therapy’,” Marina said.
“It was a really shock diagnosis. It hadn’t even entered our minds he could be that sick.”
A new experience
Enduring three and a half years of chemotherapy and missing a whole year of school, Harry had plenty of time to think of a wish.
Marina said after initially thinking of “boys’ stuff like tanks and blowing things up” Harry’s settled on seeing snow for the first time.
He and his family were all set to go to the snow before his diagnosis so the trip had been a long time coming. Harry wanted to learn to snowboard, have snowball fights and build a snowman and snow angel.
Getting to Mount Hotham in the Victorian Alps from Perth is no easy task. It took two flights from Perth then a three-hour drive to the ski-fields. But it was all worth it.
“The best part of the trip was snowboarding because it's so fun and I was getting better each day,” Harry said.
“But another fun thing we did was build a massive snowman that pretty much everyone in the town appreciated and took photos with.”
Another highlight of his trip was going on a sunset tour. Harry said while bad weather cut the tour short it was still “an amazing experience”.
A new perspective
Harry said he was very grateful that his wish came true, describing it as life-changing.
“This trip has been the best time of my life. I haven't been able to go on a holiday for four years, so this trip meant a lot to me and was an awesome life-changing experience,” he said.
Mum Marina said the trip had given Harry greater confidence and a new perspective, leading him to apply for an overseas student exchange placement.
“He is more comfortable within himself and his independence as far as being able to do things.
“I think it’s even inspired him to be a Make-A-Wish volunteer and help kids decide on their wishes.”
“I just wanted to say thank Make-A-Wish again for everything you do, giving up your weekends to make ill kids wishes come true and I just wanted to tell you how amazing this trip has been for me.” -HarryHarry, 14, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia - telling us about his wish
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The Wish Journey
How a wish comes to life
Make-A-Wish volunteers visit each child to capture their greatest wish, getting to the heart of what kids truly want and why. This profound insight is part of what makes Make-A-Wish unique, giving children full creative control and helping to shape their entire Wish Journey.
Back at Make-A-Wish HQ, we partner with families, volunteers and medical teams to design the ultimate wish experience - and start rallying our partners and supporters to help make it happen.
In the lead up to the wish, we take each child on a journey designed to build excitement and provide a welcome distraction from medical treatment. Anticipation can be incredibly powerful, helping to calm, distract and inspire sick kids at a time they need it most.
When the moment finally arrives, children get to experience their greatest wish come true - it's everything they've imagined and more. Pinch yourself, and don't forget to take a breath and enjoy every precious moment!
Wish impact studies show that a child's wish lives on, long after the moment. A wish gives more than just hope – with an incredible and lasting effect on the lives of sick kids, their families and wider communities.