Wish comes true for keen basketballer
Visser Maumasi had only been playing basketball for a month when he was struck down with acute myeloid leukaemia.
The 14-year-old Grey Lynn resident is mad about the sport and was thrilled to finally start playing at Youthtown last year.
But since his diagnosis in January, Visser has not been able to play basketball or go to school.
He is mostly confined to a hospital bed and has only been able to visit home twice in the last five months.
The ordeal has taken its toll on the youngster and his family.
So a visit from the Make A Wish Foundation this month came as a much-needed surprise.
Visser was delivered a laptop computer by Breakers player Oscar Forman and members of the Make A Wish Foundation.
He also received a computer desk, internet connection and a new basketball. Visser was overwhelmed. “It’s really cool. I’m going to do my schoolwork on it but also play games and listen to music,” he says.
“I’m going to spend lots of time on it but I’ll share it around as well.”
Acute myeloid leukaemia occurs when immature or baby myeloid blood cells start developing at a rapid rate, reducing the number of mature cells.
If too many young cells accumulate in the blood they can cause blockages of the blood vessels.
Treatment includes chemotherapy or a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.
Visser, who has nine brothers and sisters, is a student at Mt Albert Grammar School but has had to put his studies on hold while he undergoes treatment.
His mother Faamoa was delighted to see Visser get his wish.
“It is so great, it’s been very exciting,” she says.
“He hasn’t been here since Good Friday and it’s so nice to have him home again.”
Oscar spent the afternoon with the youngster chatting about basketball and playing on the computer.
“It was so good to see the expression of happiness on his face,” says Oscar.
“This is such a worthwhile and rewarding cause and it’s been great to be a part of it.”
The Make A Wish Foundation grants wishes to children aged three to 18 with life threatening illnesses.
Wishes generally come under four categories – something children would like to be, have, go to or meet.
The organisation relies on community donations and corporate sponsors such as Air New Zealand.
Fundraising manager Laura Harrison says it is rewarding to be able to make children’s dreams come true.
“It’s pretty amazing to see the look in their eyes when they get their wish,” she says.
“These kids have been through such a hard slog and it’s been pretty amazing to be part of a charity that actually does make a difference.”
For more information or to donate to the Make a Wish foundation, visit www. makeawish.org.nz or phone 373-4256.
Great present: Leukaemia sufferer Visser Maumasi, 14, was granted his wish of a new laptop computer by Breakers team member Oscar Forman and members of the Make A Wish Foundation.