Seven year old George Penhaligan from Rochester has had his dreams come true with a trip to Center Parcs in Longleat Forest organised by Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children with serious and terminal illnesses.
George, who suffered kidney failure due to meningococcal septicaemia in 2009, had to endure regular haemodialysis until he was able to receive a kidney transplant from his dad, Phil. During this time, brave George missed out on plenty of fun with his friends and a much needed family holiday had to be cancelled due to his illness.
Unable to go swimming for a year due to the dialysis tubes in his neck, George desperately wanted to go on a holiday where he could swim with his family when he was fit enough. His mum heard about Starlight and the charity organised a week long break at the scenic Longleat Forest Center Parcs and trip to Longleat Safari Park for George.
The highlight of George’s stay was one of the retreat’s main attractions, the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, which includes exciting flumes and rapids and a wave machine, with his sisters, Elizabeth and Louise, and mum and dad.
George’s mum, Jo, said of the trip: “It was a truly fantastic break. George could go on all of the water slides over and over again and he just didn’t stop grinning. The last two years have been really tough for the whole family and it was bliss to have a week off from rushing in and out of hospital and just enjoy ourselves.
“His illness has brought us closer together but George has really missed out on his sisters growing up and it was very special for us to spend some time together. Thank you Starlight for giving us such a wonderful holiday and some very happy memories.”
George is now back at school and doing well. Although he has to take daily medication and requires weekly hospital blood tests in London, he is enjoying life to the full.
Contact: Henny Breakwell
Tel: 020 7262 2881 #231
Starlight grants a once-in-a-lifetime wish for seriously and terminally ill children, restoring the magic and fun of childhood and giving the whole family happy memories to share, whatever the future holds.
Starlight also creates entertainment in every hospital and hospice throughout the UK. Sick children go to Starlight parties, laugh their way through pantomimes, go out on Starlight Escapes, play games and watch films on the Starlight Fun Centre, and enjoy the toys and puzzles of the Starlight Distraction Box. Happy children respond better to treatment and Starlight helps children to forget about their illness and simply have a bit of fun.
You can make a donation online or by calling us on 020 7262 2881. For every £1 you donate, Starlight can assure you that 91p goes towards helping very ill children. To refer a child for a wish, simply complete our wish referral form.