Caroline is 14-years-old and is living with Aplastic Anaemia. Her one true wish was to create care packages for a charity in Fiji called Homes of Hope.
Her motivation for chosing this wish came from her gratitude at receiving so much support from her local community in Dunedin. This motivated her to pass-on the same spirit of giving and support she had received while going through treatment - she wanted other children experiencing significant hardship to feel the same support and kindness.
While researching various charity options she stumbled across Homes of Hope - a charity that works with victims of sexual abuse. She was shocked to read many of the victims were of a similar age to her.
With help from her mother Lydia, she reached out to Homes of Hope directly, asking what they needed and putting together a list of items such as:
- Sanitary products
- Toothpaste & toothbrushes
- Hand cream
- Fluffy socks
- Lip balm
- Hair ties
- Tea, herbal, normal
- Nail polish
- Notepads & pens
- Baby bottles
- Reading and colouring in books
Caroline's Mum Lydia was delighted that her Wish was such a positive experience for everyone involved:
"Make a Wish provided her with a unique opportunity to do something special after being seriously ill. Having her dream to make someone else's day a little brighter was her wish, by giving back to others that are also facing difficulties. We are so very grateful that Make a Wish made that possible. The volunteers made it so fun and did an amazing job - something we will never forget."
Caroline told us that she felt she gained a very valuable opportunity:
"Make a Wish gave me an opportunity to help others who don't have the resources and support that we do. I am so grateful for the Make a Wish team for organising everything and making it the best day possible!"
Make A Wish had reached out to different organisations across New Zealand to see if they were able to get helpful items donated towards Caroline’s wish. The response was overwhelming!
By the end of August, with the help of Bayley’s Dunedin, Caroline, her family and friends, volunteers Jane and Tamara, and Make A Wish coordinator Linda, all got together and assembled 100 care packages: 50 for the mothers and young girls and 50 for the young children and babies.
The day was an emphatic success. Everyone took a hands-on approach, whether putting together care packages, taping up the boxes or cutting the cellophane and bubble wrap.
Our friends at Magellan Logistics helped with getting freight delivered overseas to Bayleys in Fiji, where Philip Toogood and his wife Julie drove from Nadi to Suva (four hours trip) to deliver the care packages.
Below is some feedback from Mark from Homes of Hope and Philip from Bayleys Fiji:
Today was a wonderful event!
Mr Philip Toogood and his wife Julie from Baileys Real Estate came from Nadi (four hours away) to attend our gift opening!
We had a truck bring the boxes up from the Bailey's office downtown. All the girls gathered at our dining hall. After a few songs and speeches, we opened the gifts. What a great joy!
Several out the girls prayed for you, Caroline, and expressed their great thanks! All in all we each were overjoyed.
Thank you so much for thinking of us. It was quite overwhelming all those boxes. We also passed out those cards with your picture. What a beautiful photo. We will put that card up to remind us in a few places around campus. Your newspaper article has been up there too.
And the boxes were packed beautifully. What thoughtful ideas for the girls and the babies. Way to go! Great job.
We have an inventory room where we will keep they extras to give out until Christmas to the girls in the settlements that we visit! (Well that is except for the box marked to the staff. I am sure the staff will be happy to dig into those goodies right away. Thanks for thinking of them too!)
Thank you! Lolomas Mai Viti (love from Fiji), you have made some family here!
The Moms, girls, and kids at Homes of Hope