MAKE-A-Wish Malaysia celebrated World Wish Day 2017 at KidZania Kuala Lumpur to remember the day the first wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition was granted in the United States.
This year, the non-profit organisation brought 14 children and their families from all over Malaysia to KidZania in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya to spend a whole day there and experience the many careers offered at the theme park.
On April 29 every year, the organisation celebrates the day a mother helped made her son’s wish to be a police officer come true with the help of the local communities in 1980.
What began as an idea developed into the largest wish-granting organisation with locations in 50 countries to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, from the ages of three to 18.
“We have granted more than 340 wishes in Malaysia and we want to celebrate this wonderful day with the children as well,” said Make-A-Wish Malaysia chief executive officer Irene Tan.
“To me, these children are stronger than a superhero and braver than a lion, and they inspire the people around them.
“The doctors keep telling me that the children’s faces light up the moment they hear a Make-A-Wish volunteer is coming to meet them. They get so excited knowing their wish is about to be granted,” she said.
Tan said the children’s wishes could fall under “to be”, “to have”, “to go” or ‘“to meet”, and the team tries its best to grant the wishes as far as possible, and depending on the children’s condition.
“Whenever we grant a wish, we always try to get the family involved.
“When a family member has a life-threatening medical condition, it usually means a lot of money will be involved and is an emotional burden to the family, so we want them to forget about their worries for a day.
“It also helps to make the child stronger because they want their wish to be granted. We have witnessed amazing things such as a wheelchair-bound child being able to walk on the day his wish was granted,” she added.
One of the participants at the event was Abdul Qayyum Nordin, 10, whose wish was granted in 2014.
Abdul Qayyum, who is a leukaemia patient still undergoing treatment, came all the way from Malacca to celebrate World Wish Day with his family and the Make-A-Wish team.
“I’m excited to be here today and made sure I woke up early.
“I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up so that I can help animals,” said Abdul Qayyum.
Abdul Qayyum’s mother Hamidah Norman, 46, said the family came every year as she wanted her son to experience the joy of a fun-filled outing.
Make-A-Wish was brought to Malaysia in 2010 by an Irish woman who thought Malaysian children who were going through tough times could benefit from a spark of hope to make them happy.