James, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, wished to visit the New Holland tractor factory.
James lives on a small farm with his family in Northern Ireland. He is mad about tractors. James loved being out and about on the farm, but was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was 15.
Part of his treatment has unfortunately caused Avascular Necrosis, so he currently uses crutches to protect his hip bones.
This hasn’t dampened his dreams of getting back out to help on the farm and so when James turned to Make-A-Wish UK, there was only one wish for him – to visit the birthplace of his favourite tractor manufacturer, New Holland.
Thanks to a grant awarded to Make-A-Wish UK by Cash For Kids NI, James’ wish came true in March 2018, and he, his brother and Mum travelled to Basildon, Essex, where James came face-to-face with tractors that towered over him.
On the day of his wish, James’ family were chauffeured from their hotel in a Range Rover. Mum, Kate, says they felt like VIPs! She continued, “It was just brilliant – everyone we met was lovely, they couldn’t have done more for us.”
At the factory, James heard about the history of the company, then, thanks to Make-A-Wish, Donkey from the Grassmen surprised James when he turned up to greet him, having flown over specially that morning. James is a big fan of Donkey and Grassmen and follows their weekly updates on Grassmen TV.
Donkey accompanied James on a special guided tour of the factory. James' mum, Kate, says he can be quiet and reserved sometimes but, when Donkey arrived, all that changed!
After a lovely lunch, the management from New Holland Agriculture came and met James, and invited him to try out driving a New Holland tractor for himself! For James, this was the absolute highlight.
He was allowed to choose his favourite tractor – the biggest one made at the factory, a T7.315 Blue Power and he drove around the test area on-site.
Afterwards, he looked round the showroom and, although he couldn't afford a real tractor, he was given a New Holland fleece and a model of the tractor he drove to take home. Mum, Kate, says James hasn’t stopped talking about the tractors and the visit since he got back! It was a very special day to see him so happy.
James is on maintenance treatment now, and Kate says he has dealt with his illness well – despite missing the fourth year of school, James went back to do his GCSEs.
His treatment will finish in March 2019, and his wish has given him confidence, strength and joy to last him until then and beyond.
Kate says, “James was so delighted to spend time forgetting about the difficult times and instead focusing on his passion and it will be great for him to have those memories to carry with him. Everyone involved was so good to him.
"It was a really positive experience for James's brother and myself, and for James it was just perfect. Thank you so much to everyone at New Holland Agriculture, Make-A-Wish and Cash For Kids NI for granting James’ wish.”
Click here to read about more life-changing wishes like James'.