Saturday, April 22, 2006

Starlight Children's Foundation grant wish to ill child

A YOUNG Noble Park girl who suffered failure of both kidneys has been given the opportunity to fulfil her dream of patting a dolphin.Alison Tang, a grade five student at Wallarano Primary School, will this weekend fly with her family to the Gold Coast for one week as part of a special wish granted by the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The fulfilment of her wish comes at a time when Starlight is urgently seeking volunteers to help raise funds for wish-granting.Alison, 10, was diagnosed with kidney disease two years ago, and spent one year on dialysis at age nine.Her father, Khong Tang, said the moment was painful for the family as they witnessed both of Alison’s kidneys fail, helpless to do anything except wait for a kidney donor.“We were at first very stressed and very upset,” he said.“Alison was very scared at first, it was hard for her while eating, she was very stressed.“

She was crying all the time, complaining about pain in her tummy.”The family will spend one week staying a resort-style hotel on the Gold Coast and visiting the regions’ premier theme parks, including Sea World, where Starlight volunteers have organised for her to pat a dolphin – her special wish.Alison said she was excited about the trip.“I like dolphins because they live in the water, and I also like water as well,” she said.“They are one of my favourite animals.”But with medical costs keeping the family finances drained, Mr Tang admitted that without the help of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a family trip to the Gold Coast was unobtainable.

“We have no money to go with the whole family, so this is very good for Alison, we feel very happy for her.”Alison, who has endured more than the average 10-year-old, said she planned to become a doctor after finishing her schooling.“I want to be a kidney specialist because I have kidney disease and I would like to treat lots of children who have kidney disease as well,” she said.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation this week said it was struggling to find volunteers for its major fundraiser, Star Day, on 5 May.Spokeswoman Melissa Hay said the organisation needed 1800 Victorian volunteers to help raise $2 million nationally to continue granting wishes such as Alison’s, but so far only had 600 volunteers.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"