herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

€1.7m funding made ill kids' dreams come true

charity

Amelia Deane (11) meeting her idol Celebrity chef Buddy Valastro
Amelia Deane (11) meeting her idol Celebrity chef Buddy Valastro

FUNDING of €1.7m allowed 145 children to have their dreams fulfilled by a well known Irish charity.

In 2014, the Make a Wish Foundation sent 88 children with life-threatening illnesses across the globe.

Children were jetted to places such as Disneyland Florida and the North Pole. A further 23 kids received their dream presents.

Experience

Three children got to experience what it was like to work in their dream occupation for a day, while another 31 met their idols such as Niall Horan and One Direction, and The Script.

One such child was Amelia Deane, who met her hero, chef Buddy Valastro, in New York last year. Valastro is known for his TV show Cake Boss which 11-year-old Amelia from Co Wexford, watches every week.

Her father John made the call to the charity for his daughter, who was battling leukaemia.

The foundation jetted her and the family off to the US, where Amelia met the chef and was brought on the trip of a lifetime through New York.

Arriving at the TV set, Amelia was given a VIP tour before meeting the Cake Boss himself.

"Make a Wish gave us hope and the strength to get through it," John told the Herald.

"They organised flights, brought us in a limo bus with disco lights, it was all very special," he said. "She met her hero and that was all she ever wanted to do."

Amelia is now almost five years out of treatment and her father is optimistic that she will be given the all clear.

Chief Executive of the Make a Wish Foundation, Susan O'Dwyer, said the unrelenting support of the Irish public made dreams possible after a "difficult" year.

The charity relies on donations from the public, but admitted that the first half of 2014 was financially difficult.

Chairperson Marie Joyce described 2014 as a "year of two halves", saying the charity later recuperated its costs in the latter half of the year.

The Foundation hopes to support 175 wishes this year.

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