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
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.