Ca­reer change a wish come true

Nick Red­stone be­came the fund­ing devel­op­ment manager of the Make-A-Wish Foun­da­tion af­ter leav­ing a suc­cess­ful cor­po­rate job be­cause of a prom­ise he made with him­self to help oth­ers. He chats with Tom Carnegie about what goes in to mak­ing a kid’s wish come

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Fight­ing zom­bies, per­form­ing magic tricks and co­or­di­nat­ing su­per­heroes.

Th­ese are just some of the things Nick Red­stone deals with on a daily ba­sis as the fund­ing devel­op­ment manager for the Auck­land branch of the Make-a-Wish foun­da­tion.

Be­fore be­com­ing em­ployed at Make-A-Wish, Red­stone had a suc­cess­ful 15-year ca­reer in the cor­po­rate world.

Red­stone says that while he had a good job he’d made a prom­ise to him­self to help oth­ers and de­cided to join Make-A-Wish full­time last year.

‘‘I wanted to be the per­son to turn around their fund­ing, mar­ket­ing and PR so that the mes­sage of what Make-AWish does could be shared with the New Zealand public,’’ he says.

He is based in New­mar­ket and says no two days are the same.

‘‘Each wish re­quires a lot of thought, a team ef­fort and plan­ning.

‘‘We try never to think about what we want to see hap­pen on a wish and al­ways fo­cus on the child’s per­cep­tion of their wish,’’ he says.

Red­stone has been in­volved in all types of wishes from de­liv­er­ing pup­pies, or­gan­is­ing su­per­heroes and set­ting up chil­dren’s backyard play­grounds.

‘‘Each wish is spe­cial and mem­o­rable in its own way, but for me see­ing parts of Auck­land be­ing shut down so that a young boy from Christchurch could help lo­cal po­lice cap­ture the Rid­dler from Bat­man was an ex­pe­ri­ence that won’t soon be re­peated.

‘‘The months of work­ing with dif­fer­ent po­lice and coun­cil de­part­ments along with the 50-100 vol­un­teers that took part on the day to de­liver a wish of that magni- tude is spe­cial,’’ Red­stone says. As one of the se­nior man­agers, Red­stone says he does not usu­ally have to get in cos­tume to de­liver wishes – but that doesn’t stop him get­ting in­volved in other in­ven­tive ways.

‘‘I have per­formed magic tricks, held signs, en­cour­aged the crowds of on­look­ers to chant the child’s name as they kick a goal, win a race lap or squirt apoc­a­lyp­tic zom­bies in the chest with spe­cial Bat­man liq­uid,’’ he says.

Red­stone says his cor­po­rate back­ground has been ben­e­fi­cial in his new role and he hopes oth­ers con­sider fol­low­ing his path as work­ing at Make-A-Wish has ex­ceeded all his ex­pec­ta­tions.

‘‘I came to make a dif­fer­ence and what I did not know at the time was that the kids would change me.

‘‘I meet kids nearly ev­ery day that in­spire me to be the best me I can and bring me hope, strength and joy.

‘‘I go home at the end of a hard day smil­ing, and that is the re­ward,’’ he says.

Red­stone says by 2018 Make-A-Wish in­tends to be de­liv­er­ing one wish for ev­ery el­i­gi­ble child with a life threat­en­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion. ‘‘By that time we want to de­liver 400 wishes ev­ery year, that’s more than a wish a day and we feel the de­served right of ev­ery child that needs hope, strength and wants to ex­pe­ri­ence joy again,’’ he says.

Nick Red­stone, right, helps grant the wish of Bren­nan Massey, 12, who wanted a Strike Force foot­ball sports chair.

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