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“I wish to visit Santa and see the Christmas lights in London”
14 years old, Hampshire
Life's been tough for thirteen-year-old Hope since before she was even born. Doctors diagnosed duodenal atresia and Down’s syndrome before birth, and at six weeks old, Hope was admitted to intensive care with bronchiolitis. In hospital, she contracted MRSA and septicaemia and almost died. After major heart surgery at four months old, Hope’s sedation drugs were so strong that she went through withdrawals. Mum Diane didn’t think Hope would ever be allowed home but, eventually, she was.
A special time of year
Hope loves Christmas, especially the lights. So, when volunteer Wish Visitors visited her home in Havant to discover her One True Wish, a festive trip to London to see the lights and meet Santa was a clear winner! Born on 10th December, Hope’s first Christmas was spent in hospital. Now, every Christmas spent at home as a family is extra-special.
Wishgranter Becky planned everything so the family could concentrate on making memories and spending quality time together. Diane explains, “She is non-verbal and, although I would love to hear her say “I love you mummy”, we are happy and we just get on with whatever is thrown our way. Her happiness rubs off on everyone and I’m so proud that she’s here with us each day.”
It takes a village
She continues, “Our local pub raised £881 after seeing Hope’s story on the Make-A-Wish website. It choked us up to realise that it isn’t just us that would do anything for her…people who don’t even know her stepped up to help too.
When Hope turned to us, she wished to meet Santa and see the Christmas lights in London.
Hope's mum told us; “The wish was wonderful. Wishgranter Becky booked us into one of the largest suites at The Dorchester hotel on Park Lane. We had a butler and everything, it just blew us away. The beds were like sleeping on a marshmallow, it was out of this world. Everyone knew we were there with Make-A-Wish and they gave Hope a wonderful birthday cake with massive balloons.
At London Zoo, there was a Light Vortex – Hope was trying to catch the 100,000 lights glowing in the darkness, and she didn’t stop smiling the entire time. Wishgranter Becky arranged for Hope to open Hamleys toy store by ringing the bell, and Hope absolutely loved being the centre of attention. We met The Grinch and had a personal shopper before we boarded the London Eye. It was night-time by then and there were twinkling lights as far as we could see, just beautiful. Hope was mesmerised.
"That was the happiest I’ve seen her in a long time."
Taxi to the rescue
“Sadly, Hope fell ill on the last day of her wish. Although we went home early, the memories will be with us forever. Everyone showed us so much kindness – everyone at The Dorchester came to say goodbye to us before we left, and the taxi driver from the day before came from the other side of London to drive us to the station. Without him, Hope may have been hospitalised, but thankfully she recovered in time for Christmas.
What the wish meant
"We could never have been able to do something like that for Hope ourselves. We took loads of photos and bought little keepsakes to help her remember - she likes to collect snowglobes and rag dolls, so we got those in Hamley's.."
Thanks to your donations, Hope’s wish came true. Life will never be easy for her, but her wish gave her the chance to experience the magic and wonder that every childhood should be filled with.