When it came to making a wish, 6-year-old Whangarei lad Tayne Lewis knew exactly what he wanted - a truck playhouse.
Tayne's a pretty cool character so he was keeping a lid on his excitement when the Advocate visited the Lewis family at their Otaika home yesterday but we can tell you it was a tough job getting him out of the cab of the big rig he was road testing.
The truck, designed in large part by Tayne who had very clear ideas about what his playground should contain, has been funded by Make-a-Wish, an organisation that grants the one true wish of children aged between 3 and 17 years who are living with a life-threatening medical condition.
Tayne has a rare type of blood cancer, diagnosed in February last year. There are only a handful of children in New Zealand with the illness, Langerhans cell histiocytosis. In Tayne's case, he has multiple sites in his body where healthy cells are being attacked. He has had chemotherapy and steroid treatment for 12 months, and last year spent eight hard months in a wheelchair. The specialists don't know at this stage what path Tayne's journey will head down next.
"We're just waiting for results now because it appears one site in his leg isn't healing," Tayne's mother Denise said.
Tayne had most of last year off school and in the first term this year only made it to class for about two weeks altogether. He's vulnerable to any germs doing the rounds so has been sick much of the time.
The Lewis family were told about Make-a-Wish by staff at Auckland's Starship Hospital where Tayne has had most of his treatment. He sat down with his mother and drew up what he wanted, and Make-a-Wish organised for the blokes from Auckland company PlayZone to come to Whangarei to build the playground.
PlayZone owner David Symons said he was impressed with Tayne's design which only needed slight modification. It features a short tower (the cab), a climbing wall (the tailgate), a rope ladder, a swing and a slide into the sandpit (the truck's deck). Tayne said he was quite happy to share the driver's seat with his big brother Stanley, 13, and sister Haylee, 12.
Make-a-Wish works with suppliers and supporters around New Zealand to make sure the children get their wish. To donate, check out www.makeawish.org.nz.