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Granting wishes that revive the spirit

Make a Wish Foundation keeps up mission of spreading hope amid despair of illness

Image Credit: WAM
Since its launch in 2003, the Make a Wish Foundation has helped realise the wishes of 650 ailing and special needs children.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Make a Wish Foundation is continuing its humanitarian mission by partnering establishments and companies in the UAE and abroad to bring smiles to the faces of children battling life-threatening medical conditions.

Since its launch in 2003, the foundation has helped realise the wishes of 650 ailing and special needs children. The foundation was at work again when Mohammad Khalifa Al Maskari, an Emirati child suffering from Leukaemia got to spend a day on the beach of Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace.

Mohammad’s mother said that the disease set in when he was only three, and that he completed his treatment in December. Mohammad is going through a recuperation phase now, she said.

She also added that despite the fact that he is a special needs child and has some difficulty in talking, he is highly sociable and loves to be around people. “He is intelligent and, despite his ailment, he attends a government school in Al Ain,” she said.

Mohammad’s mother expressed her joy at the foundation’s initiative which, she said, brought immense happiness to Mohammad. She added that looking at her son playing on the beach at Emirates Palace after a long period of treatment was indeed touching.

Mohammad’s mother also thanked the UAE leadership for backing the foundation’s initiatives.

Mohammad’s three sisters and his parents were also at hand as he enjoyed his day in the sun. Heritage activities were organised by the foundation and a tent was set up near the beach. Camel rides were also on offer but Mohammad was the cynosure of all eyes as he thoroughly enjoyed the beach, a place he yearns for when at home in Al Ain.

The Make a Wish Foundation intends to fulfil the wishes of 350-400 children in 2013, said Hani Al Zubaidi, the foundation’s CEO. He said the foundation had been able to fulfil 320 wishes last year with the assistance of volunteers, establishments that had stepped forward as sponsors and individual donors.

Al Zubaidi said that the foundation is always looking to make a difference in the lives of children with special health needs in hospitals all over the UAE, from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah. The foundation’s mission is very simple, he said, adding that it sought out children with life-threatening medical conditions and granted them a special wish in an effort to bring some happiness and joy to those suffering and their families.

There is but one condition: applicants must be between 3-18 years of age with a life-threatening condition. The foundation insists on a medical report from a hospital in the country.

Al Zubaidi praised the role of government establishments such as the Ministry of Interior besides the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity Foundation and other organisations in supporting and sponsoring the foundation’s activities.

For more information, email or visit the foundation’s website