The dream team
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This year, several children and their families were invited to Counties Manukau where members of Police helped make their wishes come true.
Make-a-Wish Foundation board member Inspector Shawn Rutene says the staff who get involved with the events give up their own time for children with life-changing illnesses.
The foundation has volunteers throughout the country, but there are a few gaps in the network, such as in Whanganui, Palmerston North and Rotorua. If anyone in those areas is interested in becoming a volunteer, they can contact MAW’s volunteer manager, Debbie Hoskins, email@example.com.
Johnny, 9, from Christchurch wanted to be a superhero and save the city. Auckland Central PST and up to 30 volunteers combined forces to create a “zombie apocalypse day” in Aotea Square. Johnny and his Auckland team policing friends, including Constable Rachel Field as Supergirl, fought off the zombies and Johnny received the “key to the city”.
Tyler, 6, from Blenheim wanted to be a policeman for a day. He and his family spent two days being shown around the Counties Manukau Police Station and the dog base and visited the Police launch Deodar and the Police helicopter Eagle. Tyler was given his own police vest and appointments. He met District Commander Superintendent Jill Rogers, who reported that the little boy sat on her lap and told her: “Do you know why I am here today? I’m dying and this is my fun day.” Needless to say, Jill reported, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Tyler is pictured at the station having a quiet word with Constable Matthew Tynan.
For Sean, 7, from Alexandra, his wish was to see the All Blacks playing France and to spend a fun day as a police officer, including a trip to the Delta base, Deodar and Eagle. He had his own police vest and hat and met Counties Manukau District Commander Jill Rogers, who came in on her day off to meet Sean and his family.
Walking for wishes
The Make-a-Wish Foundation has teamed with an adventure travel company to offer travellers the chance to visit the Great Wall of China and raise money to help children with critical illnesses at the same time.
North Comms shift commander Inspector Shawn Rutene is a member of the Make-a-Wish (MAW) board and is promoting the programme to members of Police. He’d love to go on the trip himself, but work commitments mean he can’t get away next year.
Inspired Adventures is organising all the travel and accommodation. Individuals pay for their own trips and then, using the MAW name and the Great Wall Walk concept, they seek funding from other sources. There is a minimum of $3500 that each person is expected to raise for MAW.
Shawn says the concept has worked well overseas.
Make-A-Wish NZ grants “wishes” to sick children every year, involving about 200 children, but that doesn’t cover all of the several hundred children who are diagnosed with critical illnesses annually.
“I’m hoping to get this message out there. There may be members of Police who are planning on heading to the Great Wall, and they can do some good while planning their trip.”
The 10-day adventure departs from Auckland on May 3, 2019. There are 20 spaces left and, if they are all filled up, Shawn says a considerable amount of funding can be directed back to MAW NZ.
For more information, visit makeawish.org.nz/walking-for-wishes-great-wall-of-china-2019