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Florence stood next to an elephant drawing in a frame on the wall
Florence
Leukaemia
I wish to be an elephant zookeeper

Florence, who was diagnosed with leukaemia, wishes to be an elephant zookeeper.

Eight-year-old Florence lives in Surrey with her mum, dad and three older brothers. Her wish is to care for her favourite animal, the magnificent elephant! You can help Florence’s wish come true by sponsoring her wish today.

Devastation

In April 2017, Florence was diagnosed with leukaemia, a type of childhood blood cancer. The whole family were devastated.

Friends and family all rallied round to help as Florence began a long and debilitating course of chemotherapy treatment. Florence was scared. Her hair fell out, her body swelled from the steroid treatment, and she barely spoke for about two months.

Florence and her mum hugging

Mum Vanessa soon noticed that although Florence was quiet around the doctors, she was taking in every single word. At seven years old, she was old enough to understand the seriousness of what was happening to her, but not quite old enough to cope with the intense emotions of being diagnosed with a critical illness.

Time for something amazing

The family stopped planning birthdays and days out when they found they had to cancel almost every one.

Last year, Florence’s own birthday party had to be cancelled. Florence’s Clic Sargent nurse told her parents about Make-A-Wish, and when she finally began to regain her strength after having a bad reaction to a new drug, they decided it was the right time for Florence to do something amazing – to choose her One True Wish.

When our Wish Visitors went to see Florence at home, they soon discovered that she had a passion for animals, and in particular, elephants!

From imaginary elephants, to cuddly elephants, to books about elephants, Florence loves them all! Her favourite elephant toy is called Ellie, and she even has a notebook made out of elephant poo! Florence has taught herself to draw elephants, but she has never seen one in real life…yet!

One True Wish

Wishgranter Becky has been working behind-the-scenes with ZSL Whipsnade Zoo to help Florence realise her wish to meet an elephant. Her wish will take place right near her ninth birthday, so it’ll be really special.

Mum Vanessa says;

“This wish is going to give Florence such a big boost – her love of elephants has helped her get through the marathon of her treatment, which will last until summer 2019. 

"It has been heartbreaking to have to give her medication which makes her feel so lethargic, sick and emotional. Although she can’t walk far without a wheelchair now, or run around with her friends, her hair is growing back and she has been so resilient.

Florence sitting on her hospital bed with her Bead of Courage laid out in the shape of an elephant

Child first, patient second

“When you go through something like this, you give up so much and you have to work hard to put the fun back into life because so much of your energy is spent on getting through the day. It’s easy to get so ingrained in treatment that you forget to treat Florence as a child first and as a patient after.

“Giving our other children the support they need on their own journeys has been tough. One of our sons is taking his GCSEs and another started at secondary school this year, but the focus has had to be on Florence, so it’s going to be amazing to have this special day all together, a treat for us all to enjoy as a family.”

Help Florence and her family to replace the pain and heartbreak of leukaemia with the wonder and joy of spending quality time together.

Sponsor Florence’s wish to be an elephant zookeeper today.

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Accommodation £463; Elephant experience £357; Food and Drink £360; Travel £30; Spending money £50; Elephant toy £20; Zookeeper outfit £30; Wishgranting Costs £124; Total £1,434

Sponsored donations made towards a child’s wish will go towards their One True Wish. If a child’s wish receives over funding the additional donations will be put towards a similar wish. If a child's wish doesn't reach 100% funding their wish will still take place and general funds will be used.