Peter gets his wish
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