Ibitari's wishes come true

The Make A Wish Foundation's Ballarat branch is certainly making a wish come true for Stawell youngster Ibitari Offoin.

Ibitari and his mum Kim are pictured at Lillies and Latte in Stawell with Amiee Jones (left) and Lisa Murray (right) from the Make A Wish Foundation.

Ibitari and his mum Kim are pictured at Lillies and Latte in Stawell with Amiee Jones (left) and Lisa Murray (right) from the Make A Wish Foundation.

Ibitari and his mum Kim are counting down the days to when they will board a P&O cruise ship in Brisbane, bound for the Great Barrier Reef. The cruise was granted by the Make A Wish Foundation to Ibitari, who was born with the rare condition 'Lyssencphally'. Ibitari's brain was not formed properly and as a result, he cannot speak, walk or sit up. He is wheelchair bound.

Kim said the idea to take Ibitari on a cruise came about after a respite holiday she took 18 months ago.

"I went on a cruise ship as respite about a year and a half ago and there was a Walk for Wishes fundraising event on the ship, which I took part in," she said.

"I started wondering whether or not Ibi would be eligible for something similar, because there was a child on the ship who was in a wheelchair and he was having a great time.

"The more I looked into it, I discovered Ibi was eligible so I filled out all the applications and here we are."

Kim said Ibi loves motion, whether it be travelling in a car or being pushed along in his wheelchair. She said the motion of the water would no doubt be a winner.

"I think he will absolutely love the water. He loves music and motion, so we can tie it all in together," she said.

"My sister in law will be joining us on the cruise, so we'll have time to relax, do things on the ship and just enjoy each other's company.

"It will just be nice to have a real holiday with Ibi and have the stress taken off organising it."

The Make A Wish Foundation grants wishes to children under the age of 18 with life threatening illnesses. Wishes can be for a meet and greet with a celebrity, or 'I want to have' which could be a trail bike, holiday, or a computer.

Kim thought Ibi would really love going on a cruise and she was delighted when contacted by the Make A Wish Foundation's Ballarat office confirming the holiday. The countdown to the seven day cruise in July is now on in earnest.

"Ibi can't tell me exactly what he wants, so I had to think of something that he would like," Kim said.

"If he is up to it, I will take him to a show, we can go and watch a band play and when he's had enough, we'll just go and relax."

Lisa Murray and Amiee Jones from the Make A Wish Foundation's Ballarat office travelled to Stawell last Friday to make a presentation to Kim and Ibi and confirm the wish had been granted.

Ms Murray said it gave her great personal satisfaction to to be able to help make wishes come true.

"It does give you that sense of personal satisfaction to grant these wishes to children," she said.

"It's just great to see the parents and children having fun times together. I just love seeing the smiles on the faces of families who we have granted a wish to. That's why we do what we do."

As part of their visit to Stawell, Lisa and Amiee presented Ibitari with a gift pack containing a new beach towel, goggles, hat, digital camera, floaties and a Make A Wish bear.

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