Ethan's Make-A-Wish Weekend
Ethan's mum, Naomi, tells us all about her son's festive wish in London...
"Last year we started planning for Ethan’s wish. Life is so unpredictable for Ethan so we wanted to create memories that we could treasure forever.
We thought about all the things Ethan loved and with the help of his sister Dakota, we decided a trip to see Father Christmas at Winter Wonderland would be the perfect wish for Ethan. Ethan loves Christmas, all the lights and music and the happy faces all around!
We were lucky that Make-A-Wish jumped at the chance to give Ethan this amazing wish to create a lifetime of memories. Once all the paperwork had been done and the health professionals had agreed Ethan could have a wish we were assigned a wish visitor.
Two lovely ladies came to our house and met Ethan talking to him and us about his likes and dislikes. We came up with a trip to London to go to Winter Wonderland to see Santa and a trip to the theatre.
Next we were assigned a Wishgranter. This is the person who creates the wish for the children. I mean seriously how cool is this job!
Our Wishgranter was called Dan. When Dan first phoned to talk through all the plans for the weekend I was so overwhelmed I cried on the phone.
Now a lot of people will think how lucky we all are to be given this opportunity and believe me we really are. But we have to remember the reason we have been given this opportunity.
Ethan is living with a life limiting disorder which will affect him for the rest of his life. It doesn't come with any assurances of how long this life will last. Every day is a struggle for him and the amount he goes through takes a toll on him physically.
He may go through life with a smile on his face but the suffering is real. To be given an opportunity to do normal things for a weekend means everything to us as a family.
We kept a lot of the details a secret from the kids and once Ethan’s wish pack arrived we then revealed all the details to them.
Ethan was smiling and getting excited every time we spoke about this wish. I know if he could talk he would be telling us how exciting it all would be! It felt like ages to wait but the day for the weekend soon came around quickly.
The wish weekend started with a trip on a train to get to London. Ethan and Dakota both had an activity pack for the train to help amuse them on the journey. It had Christmas colouring and stickers, a canvas bag to colour in, Christmas pyjamas, marshmallows and Christmas stories.
We met Auntie Esther and Uncle Matt at the train station and we all walked to our hotel.
After a few hitches at the hotel (we almost had 4 in a double bed!) we all settled down for the night. After a nice cooked brekkie (Ethan enjoyed some sausages as well as his Weetabix) we read Ethan all his letters from his friends and family.
We waited in the lobby for our transport for the day. Dakota shrieked with excitement when she saw the limo! Ethan’s face was a picture once he was in the limo too.
There were twinkly lights all over the ceiling and music to listen to. We travelled to Hamleys, where we had a special tour round. Ethan and Dakota were given Hamleys teddies and candy canes.
Make-A-Wish gave Ethan money to spend. He chose a remote control light up car and a hamster in a ball! We gave Dakota money and she bought a live pet chick, a handbag and a Rapunzel toy. The children loved seeing all the displays, especially the snow.
Next we travelled to Winter Wonderland, where I had arranged to meet someone from customer services. They arranged for us to meet Santa and couldn't have been more accommodating taking us to see Santa at the front of the queue.
Santa was great and Ethan loved chatting to him laughing and smiling but wouldn't look at him until the end! We were given complimentary ride tickets and some amazing keepsake photos.
We went to the theatre next to watch Matilda. I wish I could have captured Ethan’s face during the performance. He was so happy and animated it was so heart-warming to see.
Ethan became distressed near the end so we left early and missed the end but it meant we were able to meet the “Trunchball” (the headmistress from the play) in the hallway.
We had a reservation at The Rainforest Cafe so we walked along a very busy London street to the cafe.
We were taken round the back to a lift. Once inside the restaurant it was full of vines all across the ceiling and large jungle animals everywhere which made noises. Ethan loved the elephant noises the most. Ethan had a quick nap and woke up to eat his specially blended spag bol!
We ended the wish day back at a very busy Winter Wonderland for some ice skating. Ethan loved going fast around the ice!
Everybody was so tired so in the last limo trip of the day back to the hotel Ethan and Dakota had a little snooze! It was great to drive past all the Christmas lights in London.
After another sleep at the hotel and more sausages for brekkie we had a lovely trip on the London eye. Now this trip was made possible by all our friends and family. We wanted everyone to be a part of making Ethan’s weekend more special so this is what we chose to do for him.
Another thing ticked off his bucket list and some great memories made. Ethan enjoyed us showing him all the sights. We saw Big Ben and Buckingham Palace (the queen wasn't in) and Ethan even saw Auntie Esther’s flat block!
We travelled home after a lovely lunch out. This trip truly was so magical and beyond anything we could have imagined.
Watching Ethan’s face all weekend will stay with me forever. I will be creating a scrapbook so that we can flick through all the pictures whenever we like.
Thank you to all those who made this weekend possible you all are truly special to us."
You can follow Ethan's story on his website here.