A little boy with refractory epilepsy had his wish come true last week when the Barossa branch of Make-A-Wish granted his wish “to go to the moon and stars”.
Dwayne Franke, aged four, had the intergalactic adventure of a lifetime when he was taken on a carefully constructed wish “mission” to the moon.
Barossa branch members joined hundreds of people lining Adelaide Airport to see Dwayne blast off from his custom spaceship – a specially chartered QantasLink Q300 aircraft – with a full crew of Qantas astronauts.
The extraordinary wish culminated in a spectacular sequence of events including a Star Wars Storm Troopers escort through the airport to ‘Mission Control’ in the Qantas Club, and an exclusive flight to transport Dwayne to a section of a hangar transformed into an interstellar scene.
The professionally designed ‘lunarscape’ was set up with moon rocks, three tonnes of sand and projections by world leading projection company Illuminart. Dwane’s envisaged inhabitants of the moon – Batman, Spiderman and aliens – were also on hand to witness Dwayne plant his flag and become the 13th man on the moon.
The Wish means the world to Dwayne and his parents, who are given no break from Dwayne’s illness. Dwayne experiences daily seizures and takes 16 pills a day which reduce, but cannot control, his epilepsy.
Between the ages of one and three, Dwayne spent more time in hospital than at home, and has been hospitalised over 15 times in the last year alone.
Dwayne’s mother, Rebecca, is touched by the support of Make-A-Wish and Qantas, and said the wish has kept Dwayne positive.
“It’s something that has really distracted him from what he’s going through at the moment – he can’t stop telling people about it,” she said.
Make-A-Wish Australia has worked tirelessly over the past year to bring the wish to life.
“Our wishes are about taking children like Dwayne on a journey that creates a long-lasting impact and gives strength and hope,” Make-A-Wish CEO Sally Bateman said.