With more wishes than ever waiting to come true, we're asking you to join us in supporting Urgent Wishes.
You can make sure we're always ready to answer the call of any Urgent Wish over the coming months by supporting the Urgent Wish Fund. As a valued partner and corporate supporter, can you help us raise $50,000 by donating today.
"What makes an Urgent Wish different is that you know deep down that this young person may not have many experiences or opportunities to come, so we do our best to create days of quality, not quantity."
Darcie, Make-A-Wish volunteer
Urgent wishes need more people, more time, more money, and your support.
A child's diagnosis of a critical illness is every parent's worst nightmare. The only thing worse would be to hear the word 'terminal'.
Unfortunately, that is sometimes a reality in the world of wishes. Most wish children go on to live happy, healthy lives. But for some, a wish is the last escape from the realities of a terminal illness. For the family, a wish is the last opportunity to make precious memories. The gift of a wish at the end of a child's life is priceless, and the support that the wish community provides is essential.
At Wish HQ, wishes which need to be fast-tracked are called 'Urgent Wishes'.
Right now there are 46 Urgent Wishes waiting.
Your gift will make sure these priority wishes are delivered as soon as they are needed. As a valued partner and corporate supporter, please help us reach our target by donating today.
Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.
See the difference your donation will make to families by reading Benjamin's story.
A devastating diagnosis
The first signs Benjamin were unwell were late in 2015. On Christmas Day he was lethargic and wanted to go back to bed.
"What 6-year-old on Christmas Day wants to sleep and doesn't want to play with his new toys," Meredith said. She had been concerned for a while, taking Benjamin to GPs and hospitals for a few months. Following a scan, Meredith was told Benjamin had a massive brain tumour.
Over the next two weeks, Benjamin would be in and out of surgery, eventually having 80pc of his tumour removed in major brain surgery. The surgeon told Meredith that to take any more of the tumour out would risk the quality of Benjamin's life.
The bad news followed shortly after. Doctors told Meredith her son had Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer. They had already referred Benjamin to palliative care.
Enter the Wishforce
Make-A-Wish entered Benjamin's life in April 2016. Wishgranting volunteers Donna and Darcie visited Benjamin's place to ask him what he would like for his wish.
Darcie remembers a very shy boy. She also recalls Benjamin drawing a motorbike and talking about police officers.
"We discovered he would like to be a police solo rider," Darcie said. "I have a few police officers in my family. So I contacted my uncle who has been a police officer for over 35 years and said 'what do you think we could do with this'?".
Meredith could see at that first meeting with the WishForce that the wish would lift Benjamin's spirits.
"When Darcie had mentioned that her uncle was at the academy, Benjamin's face just lit up. And from there morphed this magical day, this magical weekend."
The strength of a wish
In May, weeks before he would pass away, Benjamin had his wish weekend. On the day of the wish, Benjamin made a conscious decision to discard his wheelchair for the day, despite the immense pain he was in.
"He said to me 'police don't have wheelchairs'," Meredith said. "And so he walked around the academy, which is full of stairs. He was a policeman and policemen don't use wheelchairs."
Benjamin was officially sworn in as a police motor trike officer. "They (the police) just covered us in kindness," Meredith said.
"Benjamin just said it was awesome. He said 'I'm a policeman. I have got my police badge. I'm a policeman mummy. I have been to police school.'"
For the five months from when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour until his death, cancer was part of Benjamin and his family's life. But for the wish weekend, it was almost as if the tumour wasn't there.
"It was like for those two days the illness was gone. For that weekend, apart from giving the medications I had to give him, the cancer was gone, and we were having fun."
The magic of a wish come true
Meredith said when she spoke to others about Make-A-Wish, she uses the word 'magic'.
"I talk about the magic of a wish," she said. "You forget about the doctors, you forget about the illness, you forget about all the bad stuff because all this wonderful stuff is surrounding you. And you don't feel so alone."
Meredith said the wish effect helped Benjamin during some of his low moments. She created a photo book of memories from the day.
Meredith said. "No matter how much pain he was in or how grumpy he was if someone said 'I heard you had a wish' and we pulled out the photos he would be smiling and laughing."
A few weeks after Benjamin's wish came true, he passed away peacefully with his family by his side in his final hours. His WishForce of volunteers and police officers attended his funeral.
"Watching the police motorbike take Ben to his resting place was a true show of just how much he had impacted the community in six short but incredible years," Darcie said.
Meredith occasionally picks up photos from Benjamin's wish day. She also stays at The Langham, where the family stayed for the wish. She says she can still feel Benjamin when she's there.
"He was only here for a short time, but he lived life to the fullest. He was meant to be here. And his story was meant to be heard."
Donate to ensure all Urgent Wishes can be delivered as soon as they are needed.
A big thank you to our Supporters
The real heroes who are kindly helping us achieve our goal
Steve Targonski & Karmyn Lear
Mulgrave Country Club
Spantec Systems Pty Limited
The Barry Plant Group