Peter gets his wish

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - JESSIE TOL­SON

THE Make-a-wish Foun­da­tion has made one Amer­i­can boy’s dreams come true by bring­ing him and his fam­ily to en­joy the spoils of the Far North.

Peter Grif­fith is an 11-year-old from New Jer­sey, USA, who was di­ag­nosed with a very ma­lig­nant brain tu­mour in 2009.

He un­der­went surgery to re­move the tu­mour and re­ceived cour­ses of ra­di­a­tion and chemo­ther­apy which caused him to lose his hear­ing and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties.

While Pete’s re­cov­ery has been slow as he had to learn to walk and talk again, he jumped at the chance to ex­plore the Great Bar­rier Reef and cud­dle a koala when asked by Make-a-wish what he would most love to do in the whole world.

Mum Cather­ine said it was an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence, not just be­cause of the amaz­ing places Pete vis­ited, but the peo­ple they met.

“We went on a tour of the Great Bar­rier Reef from Port Dou­glas with Quick­sil­ver,” she said.

“Our host­ess Wendi was just fan­tas­tic, and re­ally made sure Peter was taken care of - Peter even got to meet the cap­tain and sit at the helm.

“In the submersible boat, we saw a sea tur­tle and a reef shark.

“Then they got to get in the water and see the coral and colour­ful fish up close and per­sonal.

“Peter never imag­ined he would be able to see so many dif­fer­ent kinds of fish and an­i­mals at the reef, his favourites are the big ones with the big lips and the sea tur­tles.

“Even though it rained, a great time was had by all.”

But his high­light of the trip was go­ing spear fish­ing and learn­ing about the Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture with Link Walker at Cooya Beach.

“Link Walker in­tro­duced us to the beau­ti­ful Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture,” Ms Grif­fith said.

“The boys were so ex­cited to go fish­ing with spears and learned about the land, the plants and an­i­mals and the Abo­rig­i­nal phi­los­o­phy and way of life.

“They tried some tra­di­tional bread and ate beach al­monds - and even a green ant”

“Be­ing able to ac­tu­ally do these ac­tiv­i­ties made a huge im­pres­sion on us all.”

The fam­ily has now re­turned home but their ad­ven­tures are much sought-af­ter in the school play­ground.

Peter says the best part of the trip was all of the re­ally won­der­ful peo­ple he met,” Ms Grif­fith said.

“He was very touched and over­whelmed with their kind­ness and gen­eros­ity, and amazed that peo­ple all the way on the other side of the world could im­me­di­ately un­der­stand and re­late to what he has been through.

“The trip was mean­ing­ful not just for Pete and our fam­ily, but for the whole school and town.”

Learn­ing new cul­ture: Peter Grif­fith

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