Young battler granted special iPad wish

By Genevieve Helliwell

It's not often an 11-year-old gets picked up by a limousine then taken on a shopping spree at an electronics store, but it happened to a local boy.

Thomas Bohanna was granted a wish from the Make A Wish Foundation after a tough year battling a life-threatening illness.

The Omanu Primary School student was born with Ebstein's anomaly - a rare congenital heart condition which means he is faced with complications and hardship every day.

But when his wish for a shopping spree at JB HiFi was granted on Saturday, his smile was so big you would not know he was sick.

"This is the coolest thing ever," Thomas told the Bay of Plenty Times, from JB HiFi at Bayfair.

"I'm going to have the coolest laptop at school. I'm going to use it to play games and for schoolwork."

Thomas, his younger brother Blake and mum Alicia Gestro, were picked up from their Mount Maunganui home, driven around Pilot Bay then taken to Bayfair for the $2000 shopping spree.

It took under five minutes for Thomas to pick what he wanted.

"He's been coming in here quite a bit lately so he knew exactly what he wanted. It was either a laptop or an iPad and he picked the iPad," said Mrs Gestro.

Thomas said his condition meant he got tired easily and often became breathless. He was forced to give up soccer this year.

About three-and-a-half years ago Thomas had open heart surgery, and he will go under the knife again "when he deteriorates further", Mrs Gestro said. Thomas will live with the condition for the rest of his life.

Having his wish granted was "pretty special" and he thanked the Make A Wish Foundation.

The foundation, which operates around the world, grants the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions. It has granted more than 1000 wishes to Kiwi kids since it was established here in 1986.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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