17/05/2011 – Nine year old Leah Flattery from Northampton has had her wish for a special visit to London Zoo granted by Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children with serious and terminal illnesses.
At just one month old, Leah was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which is a life-shortening condition that seriously affects the major organs of the body and particularly the lungs. To battle the disease, Leah requires physiotherapy twice a day, daily medication and regular hospital visits for intravenous antibiotics.
When she was referred to Starlight for a once-in-a-lifetime wish, Leah told the charity: “I love animals and I like watching them on television. I would love to be close to them and look after them.”
For her wish, the charity suggested that it arrange for Leah and her family a very special tour of London Zoo, where they would be able to feed and stroke some of the animals as well as being able to enjoy all the attractions of the park.
Leah’s mum Laura said: “She is very caring, loves a good giggle and will give anything a go. She loves all sorts of animals and this wish would mean a lot to her.”
At London Zoo, Leah, her brother Gareth, aged 12, and her parents Laura and Carl saw all kinds of animals and were able to feed a number of the Zoo’s special four-legged residents, such as a honeybear called Honey. Starlight had also arranged for Leah and her family to enjoy some of London’s famous sights while they were in the capital, including a trip on the London Eye, a cruise down the River Thames and an evening at the famous, tropical-themed Rainforest Café. Leah and her mum were also able to enjoy a special pampering session, before meeting up with Carl and Gareth to see a production of The Lion King at The Lyceum Theatre in London’s West End.
Leah’s mum Laura said after the wish; “I just want to thank Starlight for everything they have done, because it really does make a difference. With all the hard work and thought Starlight puts in to these wishes, it really does do all the children a world of good, as it did Leah. To watch her face throughout the whole experience is something that will stay with me for a very long time.
“Leah truly deserved her wish – just for everything she has to go through everyday. She just gets on with it without moaning or crying and I know deep inside she is kicking and screaming. I am so proud of her, and one day when she isn’t well and is down, I know we will look back on her photos from her wish and that will help her get through it.”
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.