Wishes come true

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on October 5, 2018

FOR Make a Wish Albany president Ellie Gregory and vice president Sherri Willock, it’s all about seeing the smile light up on a sick child’s face that makes the long hours fundraising worthwhile.

From building cubby houses and buying state- of-the-art computers, to sending families on holidays and creating special baby hampers, the pair have seen and done it all in the name of giving sick children from the Great Southern a break from hospitals and needles.

Ms Gregory said Make a Wish Albany’s next fundraiser, to be held this Saturday, will take a different form from the usual quiz night and bake sale to create a more inclusive style of event.

“We felt like stuff was missing for young kids,” she said.

“So this is the first time we are doing a kid-focused fundraiser.

“We just want to do something to benefit the community.”

A range of kids’ activities will be held from 9am to noon on October 6 at the Albany Town Square and for $4 per child, kids can dance with Happy Feet Fitness, play games with Jamie the Clown, buy a treat from the bake sale and go in the running to win a raffle prize.

All money raised will go directly to Make a Wish to help grant wishes, of which the Albany branch has granted 15 in 10 years and one was completed as recently as May.

Albany’s own Taj Stubber, now 16, was one of the 15 children who had his wish granted in the past and said having a wish become reality helped alleviate the stress of his medical battle.

Taj was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was four years old and living in Borden.

He spent three years receiving treatment in Perth and staying at Ronald McDonald House with his mum, and missed time at home with his dad and two older brothers.

It was when Taj was seven years old and back at home that some of his secret wishes came true.

“I got told I was doing a grocery run in town,” Taj recalled.

“When I got back, there was a West Coast Eagles-themed pool party and David Hall, my favourite sprint car driver, was there.

“Then I found out I was going to the Gold Coast for a week with Mum, Dad, Bodhi and Logan.”

Taj said he got to meet Nitro, one of the hosts from TV series The Shak and went to all the different theme park ‘worlds’.

The smile on his face when reflecting on the trip eight years on showed how much of a difference the holiday made for Taj and his family.

“It was a pretty tough time,” Taj said about the toll his cancer battle took on his loved ones.

“So it was good to get away and have time to hang out together.”

Ms Gregory revealed the Albany Make a Wish group is about to start working on a new wish for a child living in the Great Southern, and said she encouraged people to attend Saturday’s event to help raise money for the charity.

Young Taj said he still receives annual health check-ups and planned to have one this week in Perth, which he hopes will be the last one in Perth before receiving them annually in Albany.