This is my story with Starlight as a Starlight child and volunteer.
I spent my childhood in and out of hospital, travelling what felt like forever from Tamworth to Sydney for quick visits and longer stays.
The Starlight Express Room was a highlight keeping my whole family entertained. My brothers would say a quick hello before going to the Starlight Room to enjoy video games, movies and craft. It was during the longer stays the Starlight Express Room kept me entertained with fond memories including painting a ceramic egg at Easter and requesting my favourite movie The Princess Diaries which played just after guests had left.
I graduated from child services and no longer had access to the Starlight Express Room. When at an adult spinal rehab facility my social worker applied for a Starlight wish. I was approved and appointed a volunteer to get to know me and find a suitable wish.
I thought long and hard about my Starlight wish and wanted a memorable experience. My Starlight Wish to Enjoy The Snow! was granted. I opened the envelope containing the details of my wish and was covered in small glittery stars. I was excited!
My parents and I packed our hire car, drove to Jinderbyne, hired snow gear and were lucky enough to stay on snow in Thredbo. I received a generous hamper filled with baking supplies including pink measuring cups and cake decorating kits. I had private lessons booked for each morning and the afternoons were free to explore the village with my parents.
Thredbo Instructor Kenton showed me the resort on skis. It was an amazing feeling to be on snow going over jumps, in the rider cross and downhill with speed. Alister Buckingham, a snowboarding photographer, joined us to capture the memories and experience what a sit ski is capable of doing. The sunny spring time conditions didn’t stop us as we skied over grass and through puddles.
My Starlight wish was an experience that I will never forget. It changed my attitude to life. It was also the start of achieving my goal of gaining independence on snow and I have since returned each year to the snow.
I have also volunteered with Starlight as part of Starlight Day and Vivid Sydney. You too can help grant wishes like mine and keep Starlight rooms running.