Almost three decades ago a brave four-year-old boy with leukaemia began a legacy when he wished for Christmas to come early.
On that day in October 1986 Daniel Logie became the very first Kiwi ‘Wish Kid’ and paved the way for thousands more sick children to have their dreams come true thanks to the charity Make-A-Wish New Zealand.
To ensure Daniel’s legacy continues, Kiwi-owned and operated real estate firm Bayleys has announced the birth of an elite sponsorship arrangement with Make-A-Wish New Zealand as it prepares to grant its 2000th wish later this month.
Bayleys already supports more than 300 charities, generating in excess of $1.5 million per annum for not-for-profit organisations.
Make-A-Wish New Zealand will now become the firm’s principal charity in what it hopes will be a long term partnership generating hope, strength and joy in the lives of many more children like Daniel. Make-A-Wish New Zealand aims to make the impossible possible, by granting the wishes of children suffering from life threatening conditions. Two volunteer ‘Wish Granters’ sit down with each young applicant to determine what their ultimate wish is, and how Make-A-Wish might make it a reality.
The child must have a life threatening medical condition to qualify and be aged between three and 17 at the time of application. Money raised from sponsorship and donations goes towards paying for the wishes which are limited only by the child’s imagination.
Approximately 60 percent of children involved with Make-A-Wish New Zealand have some form of aggressive cancer and the remaining 40 percent suffer from a variety of rare and debilitating conditions.
Bayleys Foundation general manager Sue Stanaway says, “These young people are forced to grow up much too fast and are often robbed of much of the fun that goes with being a child”.
“They are thrown into a scary and adult world and often spend months enduring countless medical treatments and operations.
“The beauty of Make-A-Wish New Zealand is that they give these children hope and excitement to mask the effects of their illness. But most importantly they give them the opportunity to be children again.”
With its current funding framework Make-A-Wish New Zealand is able to grant just 200 wishes per year. In order to grant the wish of every eligible child in New Zealand, Make-A-Wish must expand its wish program to meet the sheer volume of approximately 400 children who are diagnosed with a life threatening medical condition each year.
In partnership with Bayleys, Make-A-Wish New Zealand is working towards granting every eligible child’s wish.
Make-A-Wish New Zealand chief executive Shane Gorst says, “We are ecstatic to be welcoming Bayleys as our first ever elite partner, with the full spectrum of support from a partner who is well and truly aligned and committed to helping us to achieve our vision”.
“Bayleys is supporting essential growth in our capacity and capabilities to ensure we can meet the ever-increasing need for wishes across the country. With their support we can look forward to the future with confidence that every eligible child will have the opportunity to have their one cherished wish come true.”
The wish journey is designed to aid physical and emotional healing, Mr Gorst says, through building positive experiences and applying the principles of positive psychology.
He says it is an essential complement to the medical process, providing laughter, fun and creating memories that continue to inspire confidence and strength long after the wish has been granted.
“Bayleys and Make-A-Wish are united in our belief in the incredible impact of a wish come true, and together we will deliver this impact to more children in more communities than ever before,” Mr Gorst says.
Bayleys managing director Mike Bayley says that with a national network of 79 offices and 1,578 personnel, the company is in a strong position to support Make-A-Wish through both fundraising and awareness-raising activities organised at a branch level.
Waihkeke Island teenager Kavanna Jade, 15, knows as well as anyone what it feels like to suffer from a life threatening illness. At just five weeks old Kavanna had her first of more than 200 admissions to Starship Hospital.
Kavanna suffers from upper superitory lung disease and chronic obstructive asthma.
At age 12 Kavanna wrote a bucket list to take her mind off the day to day struggles of living with her illness. On that list was the goal of becoming an ambassador for a charity, an aspiration Kavanna has now realised by becoming the first ever Make-A-Wish New Zealand child ambassador.
“When the doctor told me at 12 years old that I may not make it to 14, I knew in that moment that I wanted to share the journey of my life with other kids like me that required the strength to move forward with their lives,” Kavanna says.
“I am so proud to be able to do this as the ‘Wish Child’ ambassador for Make-A-Wish, and I hope kids know that they are not alone in their challenge and that Make-A-Wish really does bring hope, strength and joy when it’s needed most.”
On June 17 Kavanna met with Bayleys managing director Mike Bayley to celebrate the sponsorship announcement.
“Kavanna is a courageous and spirited young lady and someone we are very much looking forward to working with as we begin this journey with Make-A-Wish New Zealand,” Mike says.