Wish stories

Kate's wish...

“I wish to meet and train with my gymnastics idol”

9 years old, London

Complex severe cystic fibrosis

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Resilient Kate, age nine from London, doesn’t let cystic fibrosis get in the way of her love for gymnastics. Life will never be simple for Kate, which is why having her wish to meet and train with her idol, gymnast Alice Kinsella, allowed her to enjoy being a child, forgetting about the complexities of her condition whilst tumbling, jumping, and doing all sorts of moves with 'her hero'.

Kate's story

July 2022

“You never imagine that you will have a child that is sick,” said mum. Cystic fibrosis, a condition that causes damage to multiple organs but particularly the lungs, is an inherited condition: “It was pretty shocking because we didn't see it coming at all, me and Kate’s father had no idea that we were carriers of the condition.”   

The consequences of Kate’s condition would see her undergo a series of treatments and procedures at an incredibly young age. As mum told us, “When she was 15 months old we had to introduce a nebuliser, she didn't want to do it, she was so upset. It was traumatic, but she had to do it.”  

A treatment photo of Kate receiving an ultrasound

While most people enjoy eating food, Kate sees it as a process she has to go through in order to function: “It’s really sad because eating should be about pleasure. But for Kate putting on weight is difficult, so it’s more like a part of her treatment. She knows she has to do it for her health.”

A series of medications, hospital admissions and regular chest infections all impact Kate’s life. Whilst some adults struggle to swallow a single pill, Kate has to take a staggering 40 pills a day to manage her condition. “We can't just go out, we have to plan and take all her medication. It's tough on her little sister, by having cystic fibrosis Kate needs more of mine and my husband's time.” Whilst the common cold has little impact on most kids, a bug could land Kate in hospital forcing her to miss out on school trips and birthday parties.

“Things will never be orthodox for her, she’ll never live a life like other people,” said mum. But Kate’s experience with cystic fibrosis has moulded her into a resilient young girl: “She knows that you can't be brought down if something bad happens, which happened a lot growing up as she's had lots of hospital admissions.”

Kate's wish

January 2024

Tenacious Kate doesn’t let her condition get in her way. A sporty nine-year-old, Kate takes part in over 12 hours of trampoline and gymnastics training each week. As mum said, “She's always doing something, which is why it's so frustrating when she does get sick, because she just wants to be training.”

For Kate gymnastics is more than just a hobby: it’s a lifeline: “When we were told that Kate had cystic fibrosis, they said that the best thing you can do for your child is keep them fit - so when she was young, we pushed her into sport. She started gymnastics when she was four.”

Her love for gymnastics blossomed as the COVID-19 pandemic forced Kate and her family to shield. “She did a lot of online gymnastics classes. She really got into gymnastics then. That’s continued and now she does a lot of regional competitions.”

Kate was stunned to hear that she would be meeting her idol. As mum told us, “She didn't believe us, she sat with her mouth open for 15 minutes saying really?! The actual Alice Kinsella! She's going to train me?!”

When Kate and her family arrived in the car park of the gymnastics club where she would be training with Alice, the nine-year-old was “jumping around and full of excitement!”

Kate’s excitement never went away during her wish, as the two discussed all things gymnastics, with Alice training the young gymnast. For Kate, her favourite part of her wish happened when she received expert advice from Alice - advice which she’ll carry with her forever: “She’s been trying to do this new move and has been scared of it, so she asked Alice what you do when you’re scared of doing a move. Alice told her you just need to be confident and believe in yourself. She did the move the next day in a competition, she wouldn't have done it otherwise.”

Kate and Alice Kinsella stretch on the floor

How Kate's wish helped

March 2024

For Kate’s mum, seeing her daughter enjoy a day that was designed especially for her after having little control over the medicines and procedures that her condition sees her endure, was ‘a real treat’. As mum told us, “It was nice being able to let her forget about cystic fibrosis and focus on the amazing experience, for us as a family it was so nice to see her getting her wish. Her condition is never going to go away, she’s never going to be able to do what everyone else is doing and be spontaneous, So days like these, are so important for kids like Kate.

"They go through so much – they don’t get a say in their treatment, we have to tell them where to go, where to be. She’s forced to do things she didn’t ask for. But the wish is her wish, it’s something she can control and is something that they can enjoy. If it wasn’t for people donating to charities like Make-A-Wish, I don’t know if she would be able to have that experience. It’s a memory that we’ll treasure and will last forever."


"Thank you - what might not seem like a huge thing to you in Kate’s eyes is massive. It’s an experience that she’ll take with her forever!"

Catherine, Kate's mum

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