For most kids, Christmas is filled with fun, family, food and gifts. But for sick kids, their illness doesn’t stop during the festive season and their days are still consumed by treatments and hospital visits.

Last month, we were proud to donate a further $250,000 from Golden Casket unclaimed prize money to Starlight Children’s Foundation to grant 38 Starlight Wishes to sick kids.

A Starlight Wish is designed to suit the specific needs of each child and can come in all shapes and sizes – from travel, to experiences, gifts and hero wishes! 

It’s the light at the end of the tunnel and provides a distraction from the pain, treatments and surgery.

One of the children who was granted a Starlight Wish is Shania, described by her mother as a bit of a daredevil who loves to spend her days swimming in the pool. 

But one day when she was at a swimming lesson, she began to feel dizzy, started to shake and suddenly couldn’t walk anymore. 
After months of testing, Shania was diagnosed with Chiari malformation, a rare condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. 

She underwent a six-hour brain surgery and was in hospital for weeks. This meant Shania had to avoid anything that could put pressure on her head; she could no longer be the fun, thrill-seeker she was always known to be.

However, amid the pain, treatments and time in hospital, Shania was granted a Starlight Wish.

After spending so much time in hospital, all Shania wanted to do was to go on a holiday to Hamilton Island with her family. She was able to forget about her illness for a bit and instead spent time exploring, relaxing by the water, looking out for koalas, and participating in cooking experiences. 

Shania’s Starlight Wish gave her a sense of control as she was able to choose and plan her Wish. It also gave her family precious time together, creating new happy memories.

Each year, Starlight grants over 500 Starlight Wishes and we are proud to be able to help deliver another 38 Starlight Wishes to sick kids this Christmas.