Saturday, March 7, 2015

Spencer's Make-A-Wish Trip!

In case you haven't figured it out by now, Spencer's wish was to go to New Zealand!!!! 

At the time they asked what his wish was (when he was cooped up in the hospital room for months on end), I think that his train of thought was "How far away can I possibly get from this hospital room?" and he picked the furthest place in the world that his brain could think of.   Sitting down with the volunteers and perusing New Zealand websites was something that brought Spencer so much hope and excitement in those dark days, but it seemed totally surreal to us that it  would ever happen.  We had the leukemia to get through first, then waiting on pins and needles praying he wouldn't be among the 50% of patients with his type of leukemia that relapsed in that first year, then the patience waiting for the Make-a-Wish volunteers to coordinate a HUGE trip for a family of seven.  As such, we didn't hear a word from them for about 2-1/2 years and we honestly had begun to believe that this trip would ever happen.

Now it's almost three years later and it's finally happening.  We picked up Spencer from JMU last night, who is now officially on spring break, and tomorrow we are taking off for the trip-of-a-lifetime!!!!  

We have a busy day packing and getting ready to go, so for your enjoyment here are some random facts about Make-A-Wish and about New Zealand:
  • New Zealand is nearly 9000 miles away from home, 18-hours ahead on the clock (which will feel like 6), and is Spencer's dream destination!  
  • Lying at over 1000 miles away from Australia, NZ is considered the most isolated of major land masses of the world and is not considered a part of any continent.  Technically it is considered part of Oceania, which also includes many of the other islands of the Pacific.  
  • It was the last of the major land masses to be inhabited by humans.  Scientists believe that even the Maori arrived less than 1000 years ago.   
  • There are NO native mammals on NZ, except bats….not even rats and mice.  There are plenty of mammals now, but none that were native when humans arrived.   
  • Without the mammals as enemies, the birds in NZ thrived and created a vibrant and varied population of birds that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  
  • Lying at about 41º South, Wellington, NZ is the southernmost capital in the entire world.   
  • Timezone wise New Zealand and Hawaii are 23-hours apart, but it only feels like 1-hour.  For instance, if it's 2:00pm on Saturday in Wellington, New Zealand, it's 3:00pm on Friday in Honolulu.  So it only feels like it's an hour difference, but in actuality it's on two different days. 
  • Make-a-Wish grants thousands of wishes each year to children between the ages of 2-1/2 - 18 who have faced life-threatening illnesses.   It is NOT a requirement that the child be terminally ill, rather it is meant to be a way to give them hope and something to look forward to while they are facing the darkness and uncertainty of their lives being turned upside-down during their sickness.   
  • As of 8:00am on Saturday, we still have ZERO idea what we'll be doing on this trip, other than we are leaving tomorrow.  Make-a-Wish has kept all the details a total surprise from us and will only be revealed to us later today (about 24-hours before we leave)!  
We are SO excited!   


Matthew K said...

We are very excited for you! And now that you are back on Facebook, we had better see plenty of pictures!!

Holly S said...

Holy cow, how exciting! Safe travels on your adventure!

The Still Family

Ashley said...

I agree!

Jennifer McArthur said...

This is wonderful! I am SO excited for Spencer and the Goold family!

Andie said...

Wonderful!!!! Couldn't be happier for your family!!

Charlene said...

Yay for you guys!! so glad that you guys are going on this adventure!!

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