Wish comes true for keen bas­ket­baller

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Lisa Sloan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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