Allan's Police wish
Posted on 1st Mar 2020
Seven-year-old Allan Harris from Swansea has had treatment for a soft tissue tumour in his stomach called rhabdomyosarcoma. When his family turned to Make-A-Wish UK to give him something positive to look forward to, Allan couldn’t decide what his wish would be.
But his face lit up when he started to talk about the police and after talking to the charity’s two volunteers, he chose for his wish to visit a police station to find out all about being a police officer.
He loves the police and even fitted a water bottle to his bicycle so it would sound more like a bike with an engine!
He wanted to sit on a police motorbike, have a ride in a police car and meet the police dogs.
His wish granter Dan made enquiries and after lots of phone calls and planning, his wish was booked for Sunday 16th February.
First, he travelled up from Swansea to Leeds by train and stayed overnight in a hotel.
Dan had arranged for him to be sent a specially designed police uniform, so he wore that.
Then he was picked up by limo and taken to West Yorkshire Police Training and Development Centre in Wakefield with a multiple-car escort down the motorway and more than 50 officers and staff lining the streets.
From that moment onwards, his wish was action-packed! Allan dusted for fingerprints, casted for footprints, practiced handcuffing and took part in various other activities before being sworn in as a police officer for the force.
Then he was briefed about the day’s operation – codenamed Avenger.
He took part in controlling a riot, searching properties, gathering evidence, car chases and armed response as well as seeing the police dogs, motorbikes and helicopter (and had a cheeky MacDonald drive through – his favourite meal!)
The day ended with a thrilling final chase onto the skid pan with Allan arresting the villains and recover the missing gem from the Thanos’ gang!
Afterwards, Allan said the wish was: “absolutely brilliant.” His mum Mandy said his favourite part of the day was chasing the baddies in the mock riots but he loved it all. He said if he doesn’t become a police officer when he’s older he’d like to be an ice-cream man!
Allan was diagnosed in January 2018 after doctors initially thought he had scarlet fever. He had surgery in May 2018 and rang the bell in hospital to mark the end of treatment in April 2019. Now he’s having three monthly check ups at hospital in Cardiff and chest x-rays every six weeks in Swansea.
Make-A-Wish UK Chief Executive Jason Suckley said: “Right now, there are around 49,000 children in the UK living with a critical illness. The day they are diagnosed, it is impossible to imagine a more difficult circumstance for a child and their family. We believe that, like Allan, every child has a dream or an aspiration that is unique to them and we work with them to make this a reality. When we do, it gives them hope, strength to face the challenges ahead and happiness, as well as a lifetime of memories. We have recently experienced a significant increase in the number of children turning to us for a wish – around 1700 between July and November last year alone. Our greatest challenge is to reach every one of these children. We can’t do this alone so we’re hugely grateful to the police community for their help in creating such an amazing experience for Allan. We hope that stories like his will inspire others to join us in this challenge. Together we can reach every child.”
To find out more about the impact of wishes or how you can help, visit make-a-wish.org.uk or follow us on social media @makeawishuk.
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Make-A-Wish UK, 7th Floor, Thames Tower, Station Road, Reading, RG1 1LX
About Make-A-Wish UK
Make-A-Wish was established in the UK in 1986 to provide the opportunity for children aged 3-17 yrs, who have been diagnosed with a critical illness, to choose and plan a special experience when so much else is dictated to them by medical treatment. A wish provides hope, something positive to look forward to and the chance to be a child first and a patient second.
The organisation, based in Reading, receives no Government funding - registered charity numbers 295672 in England and SC037479 in Scotland - and currently has 2,000 wishes on hold because of the coronavirus.
Notes to editors
As some children and young people are not made aware of the exact nature of their diagnosis and to respect families’ own approach to their situation, we ask that the phrase ‘terminally ill’ is not used and that terms like critical or serious illness are used instead.
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Please hyperlink to our website (https://www.make-a-wish.org.uk) when you mention Make-A-Wish online.
You can also find us on social media @makeawishuk