After more than two years of delays due to COVID-19, Make-A-Wish recipient ‘Hurricane Hannah’ finally had her wish to attend Vivid Sydney granted and, in a surprise unveiled as she arrived, got the rare opportunity to turn on the festival lights at 6pm.
Melbourne-based Hannah, her parents, and her sister Willow were treated to a VIP experience at Vivid Sydney, where the entire family participated in an immersive two-hour personalised tour of the festival, including the extra special surprise for Hannah to switch on Darling Harbour’s Sydney Infinity – the largest liquid and light show ever seen in Australia.
Vivid Sydney transformed the Harbour City into an illuminating fusion of Light, Music and Ideas until Saturday 18 June, with the 2022 festival featuring more than 50 light installations and projections from 64 light collaborators and 114 artists from five countries.
Eight-year-old Hannah was diagnosed at birth with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which meant the left side of her heart didn’t form. This required three open heart surgeries in her first year and 155 days in hospital before she was able to go home. Aged five, she was diagnosed with the rare Ayme-Gripp syndrome, which means Hannah cannot hear or speak, is vision-impaired and has an intellectual disability.
“Hannah loves anything with lights,” says Hannah’s mum, Emma. “Hannah has always been drawn to sensory rooms at any place we’ve visited. It has been our long time wish to attend Vivid Sydney as we knew she’d love the visual experience and at last that wish has come true. We had the most magical evening, and we cannot thank enough Make-A-Wish Australia, Blooms The Chemist and Destination NSW for making it happen.”
In a heart-breaking turn of events, the trip was delayed once this year due to Hannah herself contracting COVID-19 the week the festival started. Thankfully, she recovered quickly.
“Following the disruption of COVID-19, we are thrilled to have our wish program back up and running and so pleased to see Hannah’s wish finally granted,” said Make-A-Wish CEO, Sally Bateman.
“We are incredibly grateful to have the support of amazing partners including Blooms The Chemist to bring unforgettable wishes like Hannah’s to life,” said Sally. “Our aim is for the Wish Journey to leave a profound and lasting impact on children like Hannah, and inspire to believe that anything is possible.”
Since the inception of its partnership, Blooms The Chemist has raised more than $1.2 million for Make-A-Wish Australia across its entire pharmacy network, ensuring wishes like Hannah’s are possible.
Andrew Leslie, pharmacist-owner at Blooms The Chemist Casey Central, the community pharmacy Hannah’s family use, heard her story he was desperate to support. “The focus of our local chemist is to not only offer exceptional healthcare services to our customers, but to support and connect with them the best we can. We’re delighted Hannah’s wish finally came true.”
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade and Tourism Stuart Ayres said, “Vivid Sydney is much more than an amazing light show. It is a celebration of Sydney and Australia.”
“For Hannah and her family to finally be able to enjoy the festival in person is testament to the important role Make-A-Wish Australia and its partners play in granting these important wishes for sick children across the country,” Mr Ayres said.
Unable to attend Vivid Sydney in 2021, Make-A-Wish, Blooms The Chemist and Resolution X brought a bit of Vivid to Hannah, when they surprised her with an immersive light display in her backyard.
“Hannah was so surprised by this experience, bringing her much joy and happiness,” said Hannah’s Dad, Richard. “Despite her health challenges, she’s a bright and bubbly child and loved the night when Make-A-Wish brought a light experience to our house last year, which was such a magical moment for her and our family and friends. To now add to that a trip to Sydney to experience the scale of Vivid, we cannot thank enough everyone involved for their support in making this wish come true for Hannah, and us as a family.”
For more information on the partnership between Blooms The Chemist and Make-A-Wish, visit https://www.bloomsthechemist.com.au/make-a-wish.
For more information on Vivid Sydney go to www.vividsydney.com. Get social using @vividsydney #vividsydney