Kieran's very funny wish
18-year-old Kieran is an aspiring comedian with brain cancer. In the lead up to the 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, he took to the stage to share his own unique brand of 'tumour humour' with the world.
18-year-old Kieran was diagnosed with Glioma, a type of brain tumour, at the tender age of 13. His headaches started on a Monday - which happened to be the first day back at school, and probably sounded like a good excuse to miss some school. One week later, he had his first MRI and was urgently admitted for the first of many long stays in hospital.
"It's only a brain tumour," Kieran remembers thinking at the time - perhaps now a little woefully.
"Partly because at that time, I didn't truly understand the gravity of my diagnosis, or the impact it was going to have on my life over the next five years."
An Aspiring comedian
The origins of Kieran's tumour humour
Despite Kieran's initial optimism, the next five years were - not surprisingly - challenging. Comedy became one of the things that helped him get through.
"The thing that helped me keep my mental health at least partially intact - despite being told that I was 'inoperable' and essentially being given a use-by date - was joking about it. I found the old adage proves true: laughter is the best medicine; other than, well, medicine!
"I had to see a psychologist for a while... because shockingly that experience (being given my use-by date) has an impact on a person's mental health. But I kept joking, kept trying to spread that little bit of happiness. Because if this disease was going to rob me of my mental health, I couldn't sit by and let other people lose theirs."
Kieran's very funny wish
From a young age, Kieran had always liked to make people laugh, and he started watching lots of stand-up after his diagnosis. He discovered comedy was a great way to share his treatment journey with those around him - joking helps him to make light of his situation and find humour in it, and make others feel it's okay to laugh too.
Kieran has performed at several events including his high school variety show. For his wish, Kieran decided he would like to perform a short set during a Comedy Festival - using his unique 'tumour humour' to help raise awareness for brain cancer and Make-A-Wish.
Laughter is the best medicine
In the lead up to the 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Kieran had the opportunity to meet award-winning stand-up Ivan Aristeguieta, the Venezuelan comedian famous for breaking into the local comedy scene.
The two funny guys workshopped Kieran's comedy routine at the Melbourne Comedy Theatre - the iconic venue that arguably becomes 'the centre of the comedy universe' for three and a half weeks every year.
Next, Kieran and his family and friends headed across to RAW Comedy, Australia’s largest and most prestigious comedy competition where he shared his unique brand of 'tumour humour' with the crowd.
"Hopefully, it will be the best few minutes of stand up I've ever done, but failing that, it'll still be a story," Kieran told Facebook followers in the lead up to his wish. "Making jokes about my limited health and undying, irritating optimism with the world."
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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.