Wish stories

Riley's wish...

“I wish to be a spaceman and meet Tim Peake”

5 years old, Newcastle


The number of children in the UK who could benefit from a wish has doubled in the last 15 years, and is set to increase further.

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Riley’s wish is a day that he can always relive to rocket him far, far away from his anxiety whenever he needs an escape. Born prematurely, Riley has faced several life-threatening moments and sometimes experiences panic attacks as a result. But looking at one of his treasured super-galactic badges takes him back to his happy place - the day he met Major Tim Peake!

Riley and his family with astronaut, Tim Peake

Riley's story

August 2019

A complicated launch 

Riley had a tough start to life. He was born after a complex labour weighing just a tiny three pounds, eight ounces. He needed surgery to fix a hole in his oesophagus which meant it was an agonising three days before his mum, Rachel, could give him a kiss, and four days before their first cuddle. 

Then, Riley contracted pneumonia several times before he turned five and was treated in intensive care. His sister, Ruby, was also born with problems with her oesophagus and trachea - a condition that affects just one in 5,000 children. These issues changed their family's lifestyle as well as their mindset and meant childhood took on a very different hue.

"Every day is not guaranteed. Anything could happen. We just live in the moment."

Rachel, Riley's mum

After all the complications and operations, he’s been through, Riley and his family wanted to share an experience that would create positive memories outside of hospital and - for Riley - something out of this world!

Riley's wish - we have lift off!

January 2020

Riley and his mum sitting with Tim Peake and looking at books together.

After seeing pictures of space on a game he was playing, Riley told his family his ambition was to be an astronaut. From that moment on, he became obsessed with the idea of meeting one to find out what it was really like. So, when he turned to us, that's what he chose for his wish and who better to meet than Britain’s own spaceman Major Tim Peake! 

On the day of his wish, Riley got to ask Tim all the questions that he and his school friends and thought up. He listened to an exclusive recording of the roar of a rocket launch and was given badges that had actually been to space and back!

Rachel said: “The last time he laughed like when he met Tim Peake was when he got his telescope. He only does that excited laugh when he gets something he really wants.” 

Tim Peake showing a book to wish child, Riley.

Thanks to support from the fabulous Scouts community, Riley's Wishgranter was able to book Riley's meeting with his idol in a fabulous room and he was initially so starstruck he was lost for words! But he was soon put at ease.

How Riley's wish helped - a change of atmosphere

February 2020

"You truly have made a little boy’s life better. He suffers from anxiety and has so much going on, it’s something we can reflect on when he’s having a panic attack. We’ll keep it with us for the rest of our lives."

Rachel, Riley's mum

Astronaut, Tim Peake signing a book for wish child, Riley.

Written in the stars

Riley’s family have learnt precious lessons from their struggles which we could all apply:

  • “Take the little things and make them big because you may not get them again.”
  • “Everything is worth celebrating: every day; every hour; every minute.”
  • “Turn negatives into positives. Look at the smiles on your loved ones faces.”

Thank you to everyone who made Riley’s wish possible. It takes an army of supporters, volunteers and fundraisers to make each wish a life-changing reality. Join us as we strive to grant a wish for every eligible child.

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