Hazel talks about her Wish - 7 years on
"This illness had changed my life for the worst and this wish has changed it for the better."
Hazel Redmond was 14 when she was diagnosed with viral meningitis when she felt unwell after a netball game. Her condition quickly progressed to encephalitis (a serious swelling of the brain), a life-threatening illness.
Hazel was hospitalised for three weeks and was too unwell to attend school for over six months. Her recovery was long and gruelling - including six years of rehabilitation at Burwood Brain Injury Unit.
In 2012, two years after she got sick, Hazel's family applied for a wish for Hazel to Make-A-Wish NZ, her one true wish being to meet her hero - successful NZ fashion designer Karen Walker.
Her wish was soon granted - Hazel spent the day at Karen Walker's workshop and in her Newmarket store, gaining invaluable insight from Karen about setting up her own business - something Hazel envisaged for herself with her interest in photography. Karen continued to be involved in Hazel's life after the wish, mentoring her over the following years.
Karen encouraged Hazel to pursue her passion for photography and introduced her to some of New Zealand's most successful photographers, helping her to improve her photography skills.
When Hazel completed school she started her own business 'The Photo Shop' and also works as a freelance photographer.
"Receiving a phone call from The Make A Wish foundation late 2012 was the start to the most amazing journey for me.
I was granted my dream wish, which was to meet highly regarded New Zealander, the fashion designer Karen Walker.
I chose this as my wish, as I wanted to be treated to something that money couldn’t buy. This illness had changed my life for the worst and this wish has changed it for the better. My wish exceeded all expectations.
She was so warm, inspiring, motivating and a real character. She shared with me many life lessons, one I use in my everyday life: "Never be afraid to ask, the worst thing that can happen is someone says no."
I had the biggest smile on my face all day. My wish day was an experience and memory that stays close to my heart."