When you wish upon a star

The Make-A-Wish foundation has been granting wishes for seriously ill children for 30 years with the help of incredible volunteers like Department of Human Services staff member Tamara Webb.

“As the Public Relations Co-ordinator and Volunteer Care Co-ordinator for our local Make-A-Wish Foundation Branch, I put my energy towards getting sponsorship and generating publicity for Make-A-Wish and Run for a Wish,” Tamara said.

“This involves looking after the Facebook account for both charities, running social media campaign and undertaking the public relations and marketing activities. I also speak on local radio, TV and to the press for our up-coming events. I’ve been involved each year since 2012 and can’t see myself stopping any time soon.”

Tamara says having their wishes granted makes a huge difference for children with life threatening illnesses.

“Every child has a dream inside them and when they’re seriously unwell, it can be the hope of this dream coming true that helps sustain them through treatment,” Tamara explained.

“When a child has been registered with us, we visit them and give them a coin that signifies our promise to them that we’ll grant their wish.

“Having something special to look forward to doesn’t only help the children, it also has a ripple effect on their family, friends and wider community.

Whether it’s going to a theme park, playground or watching a football match from a corporate box and meeting their favourite player, Tamara says many people are involved in the wish granting process and all get a tremendous lift.

“One of my more touching moments was when we granted a wish for a young teenager and his family to swim with dolphins,” she said.

“Unfortunately, his brother also suffered from a similar medical condition and lost his battle before the swim took place. Even though that was incredibly sad, it still provided a beautiful experience for the family.

“Despite these circumstances, for this family, as with the other families I’ve known, the granting of the wish seems to take on a near-magical experience. It’s as if the whole family blossoms and it makes such a difference.”

Initially reluctant to draw attention to her volunteering, these days Tamara just wants to raise as much awareness as possible for the Make a Wish Foundation. In particular, the Run for a Wish event that takes place annually in Launceston.

“Last year’s event was one of our most successful in terms of attendees and donations. We raised more than $30,000, which means at least another 3 wishes can now be granted. We’re absolutely delighted we can give a little joy to even more children,” she said.

Although Tamara’s volunteer duties keep her busy outside of work hours, she believes it’s worth it.

“The fact that no eligible child is denied a wish is incredible and explains why there’s so much to do,” she said.

“To be honest, it’s a lot of work, putting together Run for a Wish, and we only get about 2 months off a year.

“But when I feel tired, it’s not hard to remind myself that at least I’m healthy, my kids are healthy, and whatever we may go through in life, it’s nothing compared to what these beautiful kids go through during treatment every day and they are never far from my thoughts.

“I only really have one wish, and that is for all these lovely children to make it through treatment to live long, healthy and happy lives. Isn’t that what we’d wish for everyone?”

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