NATION

Early Christmas Gifts For Princesses Mereosi Tuinayau, Avolonia Draiva

Christmas came early for three-year-old Mereosi Tuinayau of Korovou in Tailevu. She received a princess dress, cooking set and a laptop as presents from Make A Wish Pacific Foundation. She
30 Nov 2018 10:32
Early Christmas Gifts For Princesses Mereosi Tuinayau, Avolonia Draiva
Members of the Make a Wish Foundation, the New Zealand High Commission representatives, the acting High Commissioner to Fiji Halia Haddad, the High Commissioner’s wife Faloleni Curr and children who received gifts from the foundation at the NZ High Commissioner’s Residence in Suva on November 29, 2018. Photos: NZ High Commission

Christmas came early for three-year-old Mereosi Tuinayau of Korovou in Tailevu.

She received a princess dress, cooking set and a laptop as presents from Make A Wish Pacific Foundation.

She was among five children who all got their wishes fulfilled yesterday during a small function hosted at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s residence in Suva.

Mereosi was diagnosed with T-cell leukae­mia/lymphoma (a type of cancer found in children) in January this year.

Her mother, Makelesi Tuinayau, said Mere­osi had a lump on her neck and it was after they took her to hospital that her condition was diagnosed.

“At first I was scared because I knew some cancers were incurable, but when we spoke to the doctor, they assured us that she can be treated,” she said.

“She can be cured but has to undergo a two-year treatment so we have started with that. I have to remain hopeful, but every day I am scared for her.”

Ms Tuinayau thanked the Foundation for bringing happiness to her daughter’s life given how tough the year had been for the lit­tle one.

The Make A Wish Foundation since its es­tablishment in 1980 has been fulfilling the wishes of kids diagnosed with critical ill­nesses across the globe.

Two years ago, Gilli Sinclair drove the es­tablishment of Make A Wish Pacific with the aim of fulfilling 120 wishes by 2020.

“It is about giving a kid a day out from a life that is pretty tough,” she said.

“We try to fulfil the kid’s wishes and not the parents who tend to be more sensible and suggest things like school stuff. The kids themselves want some magic and that is what we give them,” Ms Sinclair added.

Avolonia Draiva, a happy princess

Little Avolonia Draiva has a knack for art and craft. The five-year-old even put together the necklace she wore yesterday to the New Zealand High Commissioner’s residence where she received gifts from Make A Wish Pacific Foundation.

She received a laptop, a princess dress with shoes and a jewellery making set.

Avolonia was diagnosed with T-cell Lym­phoma last year. Originally from Nakorovou Village in Rewa, her family currently resides in Valelevu, Nasinu.

Her mother Ana Qolodua said she rushed Avolonia to hospital one day after she noticed her breathing heavily and fast.

She was then admitted.

“The doctors did an x-ray and they thought it was pneumonia at first,” she said.

She said her daughter went for an operation and the doctors found that she had a huge mass on her right lung.

“When we heard about it the first time, it was really hard and I have been trying to cope with it since,” said Ms Qolodua.

“One of my friends told me that I needed to accept the fact that one day Avolonia would be gone. I just stared at her face when she told me this and that was one of those mo­ments that has stayed with me.

“So I made a promise that I will not lose hope, that my daughter will be okay and I am fighting this,” the emotional mother said.

Avolonia is their only daughter among three children.

Also having her wish fulfilled yesterday was 15-year-old Unanisi Radinibeqa of Naitasiri.

The teenager received an ipad, clothes and shoes from the Foundation.

Unanisi has a tumour in her chest and was diagnosed at the age of 10.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

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