Make-A-Wish Australia has been granting wishes to children and young people since 1985. Wishes bring magic, joy and hope to children and their families, as well as unforgettable experiences. They are the only children’s charity in Australia that focuses solely on Wish granting.
Make-A-Wish has a clear mission which is to bring magic and joy to children with a life-threatening illness by granting a cherished wish. Make-A-Wish has been granting wishes in Australia for well over 20 years. Since 1985 they have now granted wishes to over 5,000 Australian children.
Make-A-Wish Australia began following a speech by Jack Stanford on 23 June 1985 (then National President of Make-A-Wish America) when a life insurance salesman from Ballarat (Les Roberts) heard a speech that changed his life. It was a speech about the magic and joy experienced by children whose dreams had come true. He also spoke of the warmth and laughter, as well as sadness and heartache, experienced by those involved in the process of granting wishes. Les Roberts returned to Australia inspired and determined to pursue the mission of granting wishes to sick children.
Later that year, Make-A-Wish Australia officially opened in Melbourne, and news of its good deeds spread rapidly. Soon, volunteer branches formed in cities and regional areas across the nation as people from all walks of life joined together to assist children in their own local communities.
The first wish was granted to 16-year-old Shawn Cleland of Footscray in Melbourne in 1985. An avid fan of AFL, Shawn’s wish was to meet the players of his beloved Footscray. Shawn had never flown in a plane – so Make-A-Wish added an extra-special touch, flying Shawn to Sydney to see the Bulldogs play the Swans. “Walking was my first choice of a wish”, said Shawn who was confined to a wheelchair due to his illness. His second was to play cricket for Australia or football for Footscray. Shawn’s favourite player, Footscray legend Simon Beasley, paid him a visit before the trip, “Tell the team that if they get a thrashing they deserve a salary cut”, Shawn joked.
Since that first wish, Make-A-Wish Australia has gone from strength to strength, now granting approximately 500 wishes every year. Make-A-Wish has 52 volunteer branches throughout Australia and more than 1000 volunteers, supporting more than 40 staff members in fulfilling their mission of bringing magic and joy to children and young people with a life-threatening illness.
Pippa gave her support by attending the Wish Ball at Crown Palladium, Crown Towers, South Bank, Melbourne, Australia, on 14 September 2007.
You can visit the MAKE-A-WISH AUSTRALIA WEBSITE