30/08/11 – Ten year old Rahil Vig from Slough has had his dearest wish to go to Space Camp in Turkey granted by Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children with serious and terminal illnesses.
At just three months old, Rahil was diagnosed with a serious genetic blood disorder called Thalassemia Major, which is also known as Cooley’s Anemia. As a result of his condition, Rahil had to spend much of his time in hospital having blood transfusions and required a daily infusion of medicines.
Rahil desperately needed a bone marrow transplant but the probability of finding a 100% match with an unrelated donor is hugely unfavourable and his parents, Amit and Smriti, spent their time researching ways in which their son could be helped. In 2008, Amit and Smriti had a second child called Neil and, although the odds were 1 in 18, he proved a complete match, which meant that he would be able to be a donor for Rahil.
In May 2010, Rahil was admitted to St Mary’s Paddington, where he entered an isolation cubicle for his bone marrow transplant. As a result of this gruelling and lengthy treatment, Rahil spent a number of months in isolation and has spent the last year recovering from the procedure. During this time, a member of the play team at St Mary’s referred Rahil to Starlight for a once-in-a-lifetime wish and it was easy for Rahil, who had the walls of his hospital cubicle covered in space posters, to decide what his wish would be!
Rahil asked the charity if he could go to space camp and Starlight organised for him to travel with his parents to Turkey, where Rahil spent a week at the world famous Space Camp Turkey. During his time at camp, Rahil was able to enjoy rides on the astronaut simulators and learn about space with his teammates, while his parents enjoyed a stay in the beautiful city of Izmir nearby.
At his space camp graduation ceremony, Rahil, who dreams of becoming a space researcher, was awarded the received the special ‘Right Stuff Award’, which is presented to a camper who has displayed the characteristics of a future space explorer such as sound decision-making, self-confidence, striving for excellence, and seeking and sharing knowledge.
On his return, Rahil explained how his Starlight wish had helped him, saying, “I loved it at Space Camp Turkey. I felt like a real astronaut on the simulator and we did maintenance works in a zero-gravity environment, which was just like being in space. My imagination grew stronger there and my space dreams are now even closer to reality.”
Contact: Henny Breakwell
Tel: 020 7262 2881 #231
Starlight grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes 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 over 91p goes towards helping very ill children. To refer a child for a wish, simply complete our wish referral form.