Seventeen year old Gurmukh, who lives in Kent, suffers from a severe condition called osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. The life threatening illness was diagnosed after a sporting injury refused to heal and a lump on Gurmukh’s leg was found to be caused by cancer.
With his life turned upside down by the terrifying diagnosis, the rugby fanatic faced twelve months of chemotherapy and major surgery on his leg, along with the realisation that he was now unlikely to fulfil his ambition of becoming a commercial pilot or obtaining a private flying licence.
Armed with an invitation from Sir Richard Branson himself, Starlight organised for the flying enthusiast to take a very special trip to New Mexico for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the launch of the brand new SpacePort USA! Along with the world’s media and a small group of invited guests, Gurmukh watched the test flight of the first ever commercial space liner, Virgin Galactic’s ‘White Knight Two’ and the official dedication of the runway.
As if the celebrated launch wasn’t fantastic enough already, Gurmukh also met astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, and had a one-to-one breakfast with his hero Sir Richard.
“Gurmukh’s condition has prevented him from fulfilling his ambition to learn to fly and it was a pleasure to help Starlight create a completely unique aerospace experience for him. I hope it went some way to making up for the things that he has missed out on and will encourage him to keep reaching for the stars,” Sir Richard said after chatting Gurmukh.
Highlighting the power of Starlight’s work, Gurmukh described the inspiration he drew from being part of an event he called a “step towards the future” after everything he has been through. Following his wish, he is now in remission and, although he will need further surgery on his leg, he is doing really well and is enjoying life.