Patrick (15) from Leitrim wished to meet Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton! Mum Christine told us what the wish meant to Patrick and the whole family...
"Our 13 year old son, Patrick, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2018. This is a rare kind of bone cancer, which in Patrick’s case, meant he had a large tumour in his femur with presumed metastasis in his lungs. Due to the weakened bone Patrick also suffered a broken leg early on in his treatment, making him immobile as well as weak and sick. Our everyday life was completely turned on its head. As parents, we were unable to work as one of us had to be with Patrick in hospital and one at home with our two daughters. On the occasions that we were all home we were unable to do normal family things or go out as Patrick had such a high risk of infection... but we lived for those days and nights at home and together. With Patrick so sick, and with restricted mobility, we just got on with what each day threw at us. It was during this time his interest in Formula 1 became a real passion and it honestly did keep him going. Having completed a gruelling 10 months of Chemo, 6 general anaesthetics, two significant surgeries, one on his leg and one on his right lung, we were over the moon to be out the other side and be told Patrick was in remission.
When we spoke to Make-A-Wish, we knew what his wish would be - F1, full-stop! The day I received the call from Wishgranter Ailbhe to say that Patrick had been invited, by Lewis Hamilton & the Mercedes team, to pre-season testing in Barcelona, I rushed her off the phone as I was close to tears – I couldn’t wait to tell Patrick! I will never forget collecting him from school and repeating what she had said. At first he didn’t believe me – but when I said it was in Barcelona, he knew pre-season testing was scheduled to take place there and that it must be true. He was so overwhelmed with emotion, he burst into tears. This was only two weeks from the trip so we didn’t have long to wait.
We were looked after so well from start to finish, being met by drivers and treated like VIPs. We cannot thank Make-A-Wish enough or express what it meant to ALL of us! We thoroughly enjoyed seeing behind the scenes and getting a real insight into how much work goes into every aspect of F1. Lewis Hamilton was cool – engaging, lovely, down to earth and very generous with his time. We even met his lovely Dad too!
Personally I came away knowing that we’d had an experience that money cannot buy and that Patrick had had an experience of a lifetime, one we all will never forget and that Patrick really did deserve the privilege. He has put up with so much and been so brave and made us so proud, F1 and this experience is one of the positive things to come out of the tough time and helped us draw a line under that chapter and start to live again.
We feel especially lucky now that everything has been called to a halt – we got a lovely break in beautiful Barcelona, complete with blue skies, before the lock down.
We want to thank everyone in Make-A-Wish for their hard work and dedication and indeed everyone who has ever donated to them. This charity makes a real difference to children’s lives and as a family that remains complete, I can only imagine that should you not be as lucky as us and lose a child, the memories created while living a wish will be appreciated a thousand times more. Thank you is not really a big enough word.
Patrick is now 15 years old and in remission, he still suffers with pains in his leg, he had 28cm of his femur replaced as well as his knee, so this is understandable. He has had one operation to lengthen his leg since the replacement and will probably need one more such operation next year. Until recent years this condition would have resulted in amputation so we won’t complain! He is back in school and in really good form and continues to make us proud every day."