7-year-old Jacob from Tadley, near Reading, has had to spend the last three Christmases in hospital. Since the age of three, Jacob has been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. After three years of treatment, Jacob is now in remission and he wished to go to an aeroplane factory and have an aircraft experience.
Jacob's mum told us that “He’s always loved aeroplanes. He loves all the big planes and they have really captured his imagination."
When our Wish visitors first met Jacob he said his wish was to fly an aeroplane, then he asked to look around a factory that makes aeroplanes and to meet a pilot! So, Wishgranter Nicola got to work creating an aircraft experience for Jacob.
Mum, Steph, remembers Jacob looking pale and having a swollen tummy in the lead up to his diagnosis. After several trips to the GP, doctors at the hospital broke the shattering news that Jacob had leukaemia.
His treatment started straight away. Jacob had a central line fitted to give him chemotherapy drugs intravenously; the line remained in place throughout his long treatment.
After 4-5 weeks of intensive treatment, Jacob was then able to go to his local hospital every 4 weeks for check-ups and to continue his chemotherapy.
This routine lasted for 3 years and Steph remembers describing it as their “new normal.”
Jacob started school in the September of 2014 with a nasal gastric tube for his oral drugs, which he called his “purple Mr Wiggly”. He also lost all his hair from his treatment, but Jacob just took it all in his stride and made lots of friends.
Jacob’s wish for an aircraft experience was granted in two parts, with special thanks to EasyJet, who pulled out all the stops for Jacob’s wish.
In August, Jacob and his family were invited to visit EasyJet’s training facility at London Gatwick Airport. They met with one of the pilots who spent the morning showing Jacob how to fly an aircraft in one of their simulators. Jacob got to experience what it would be like to be in control of a passenger jet.
EasyJet sent Jacob and his younger sister, Zoe, mini pilot and crew outfits beforehand, so that they could feel part of the team on the wish.
After lunch with their new pilot friends, Jacob went back to the training facility and EasyJet crew got the family involved in safety procedures, testing the life jackets and the emergency slide, giving messages over the aircraft tannoy, even running a cabin service with the refreshments trolley.
The family enjoyed a day to remember and then in October, the family flew out to Germany where they received a VIP tour of the Airbus factory, completing Jacob’s unique aircraft experience.
Jacob’s mum, Steph, said “We had a great time and the whole experience was truly wonderful. The whole EasyJet team made us feel like royalty. The day exceeded all expectations, thank you so much!”