My completely football obsessed son received tickets from a generous sponsor, via the Starlight Children’s Foundation, to the State of Origin – in a corporate box no less. For my international friends I will explain that the State of Origin is a series of three rugby league games played annually with the best players coming from different football clubs to represent their home state – it’s kind of a big deal.
Never have I seen Aidan so excited about anything. We received the call on the day before the game and quickly went out shopping to get him a jersey, some fake tattoos, some badges… the works. We could barely get him to sleep that night.
On game day we were blessed with good weather and a healthy, but overexcited, little boy and things just went up from there. The bus trip to the stadium, the crowd decked out in their team colours, the atmosphere, the entertainment, the packet of chips we bought him and, of course, the game – he loved every aspect of it. He was shouting, dancing and hi-fiving everyone in the box. He was generally having the time of his life. He didn’t even cry as he usually does when we had to give him his medicines at half time. For that one night, he was invincible.
For me, it was one of those magical moments, the whole reason you become a parent in the first place. Just writing this now brings a tear to my eye and I wish I could relive the night over and over again.
Being the over thinker that I am, I must admit to feeling twinges of guilt. Having a child with a terminal illness has opened up so many opportunities to us. Aidan has seen and done things that most children his age have never had the chance to do. There is no way we could have afforded to take him to the game and I felt guilty about all the other children in the world who equally deserve these opportunities. But the night wasn’t about me and how I feel about charity, it was about Aidan.
It was 12.30am before Aidan finally came down from his high. Just six hours later we woke him up to take him to hospital. As I watched him get a blood transfusion, a dressing change and a needle, I was reminded of just how much he must endure as part of his condition and all feelings of guilt dissipated.
My gorgeous son doesn’t have it easy but thanks to so many supporters he can live an amazing and fulfilling life.