Xavier's wishing for a puppy

A caramel-coloured puppy is all Xavi wants. After having two serious conditions to deal with in as many years, we can’t think of anyone more deserving of puppy smooches! Like other kids, Xavi has had his wish postponed because of COVID-19.

Background

Meet Xavier

It was during a joyous occasion - a wedding - when little Xavier’s life would change forever.

Xavier, then 4, was dressed in a smart chequered shirt, with a black vest and black tie. His two sisters in pretty white dresses and mum and dad also looking stylish.

“It was about 8pm, and he was dancing,” mum Mel recalled.

“We were laughing at him because he was doing this movement with his arms, going around and around like a Pac-Man and he looked like he was having a great time.

“But then something odd happened, he came up to me and didn’t look well. I found a couch near a fire, and I was holding him like a baby.”

That night when he went to bed Xavier, or Xavi as he’s called, was so hot his pyjamas were drenched. It was the first of many nights of sweating and stomach aches. Doctors told Mel it was probably a virus.

Diagnosis

A real shock

Alarm bells started sounding one day shortly after when Xavi couldn’t walk on his left leg.

When he was taken to the hospital, there were no immediate answers until the diagnosis came through.

Doctors told Mel that Xavi had systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The “systemic” means Xavi’s entire body would be in pain.

“That was a real shock because up until then he was a normal kid,” Mel said.

“He was in pain; it was hard watching him in pain. You want it to be you, not them. He also because he was on steroids, he would get really fluffy cheeks, and he didn’t look like himself and that upset him.”

Xavi’s condition was soon managed with medicine and Xavi, and his family was able to go away on a holiday.

But not long after his return, a blood test showed something irregular.

Xavi’s haemoglobin was low, and tests eventually showed he had a massive abdominal tumour and lesions on his kidney, lungs and knee. Xavi had Burkitt lymphoma.

Treatment

Chemotherapy starts

Xavi’s chemotherapy started immediately and his aggressive treatment plan of seven rounds of chemo – each lasting three to five days – attacked the cancer.

“I explained it to Xavi in a way that he was very sick, and like the cartoons, it was all the bad guys, and we needed all the superheroes to go in as the medicine,” Mel said.

“If he were feeling better he would say ‘the good guys are winning’ or if he were feeling bad he would say ‘it feels like the bad guys are winning, I need more good guys’.

“It’s a lot for one little person to have to go through. It makes no sense. It’s a lot to take on, almost mind-boggling.”

Mel said it wasn’t conclusive Xavier’s two conditions were linked but it was possible.

“We will never know for sure,” she said.

“You are fighting for their life. You’re always talking to doctors, feeding him …. there is always something to do.”

The wish

Wish on hold

Xavi, now 6, has been in remission from cancer since August and is also on unmedicated remission for his rheumatoid arthritis. So, after years of battling, it’s time for Xavi to enjoy his childhood and look forward to a lifetime of smiles!

Xavi’s wish for a puppy to cuddle and call his own is on hold because of COVID-19.

Mel said since Xavi was a child he has always taken the opportunity to pat a dog when the family are out and about.

She said the puppy would be adored by Xavi and his two sisters.

“Oh my goodness, the day it comes will be amazing and he will never forget it,” Mel said.

“He will be over the moon. And his sisters will be beside themselves.”

Laraine Finlay from Make-A-Wish’s Sydney North branch said Xavi was a warm-hearted boy and the branch volunteers were doing what they could to build his anticipation and keep him positive while he waits for his wish to come true.

“To keep Xavi engaged until his wish, we’ve been sending him a new page for his puppy booklet every Monday with info about looking after puppies,” she said.

“We’ll keep him updated as the puppy grows and gets ready to meet him. He can’t wait to hold his new friend. And we feel the same!”

Thank you, Make-A-Wish supporters!

Like many other wishes, Xavi’s wish is currently on hold. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has caused massive disruption in the funding of wishes. Most wish children face extended isolation due to the pandemic, and it’s just not safe enough for their wishes to come true at the moment. By donating today, you can help support children like Xavi through this difficult period.

He never wavered once from a puppy. As a little kid every time he and his sister would see a dog they would stop and pat it … we wouldn’t get more than 10 paces without patting a dog.

Mel mum to wish child Xavier, 6, arthritis & Burkitt lymphoma

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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.

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