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.

You can help more children like Riley by donating now.

Wishes are like planets, no two are the same

Make-A-Wish is on a mission to grant seriously ill children their ultimate wish. We go above and beyond to ensure that wish children can give their imagination free rein. All our wishes are as unique as each of the children and young people we support - just like Riley...

Riley and his family with astronaut, Tim Peake

Riley's story

August 2019

A complicated launch

Riley didn’t have an easy start to life. He was born after a complex labour weighing just 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.

Riley had pneumonia several times before he turned five and was treated in intensive care. Riley’s sister, Ruby, was also born with problems with her oesophagus and trachea - a condition that affects just one in 5000 children. This changed their family's lifestyle as well as their mindset.

Rachel said: “Every day is not guaranteed. Anything could happen. We just live in the moment.”

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: a wish!

Riley's wish

January 2020

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

We have lift off!

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 Sir Tim Peake!

On the day of his wish, Riley got to ask Sir Tim questions that he and his school friends and thought up. He listened to exclusive footage 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.

A change of atmosphere

Thanks to the Scouts, Riley's wishgranter was able to arrange 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

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.”

    Exploring the unknown

    At Make-A-Wish we strive to make more children feel, like Riley, that: “My wish has truly been granted.” Thank you to all those who have made that possible.

    Read more Wish stories to see the range of Wishes we grant.

    You may also like...

    Similar wishes

    From teachers to superheroes, read more amazing and imaginative "to be" wish stories.

    More stories

    Local wishes

    Read about other wishes we've granted for children from the Newcastle area.

    More stories

    How wishes help

    Find out more about the positive impact of our wishes.

    Read more

    We rely on generous donations from people like you to grant wishes. Your donation will make wishes become a reality for critically ill children, supporting them where the need is greatest. Thank you.