“Today was the best day of my life. My mum told me I was getting a surfing lesson with a local this morning and when Mick tapped me on the shoulder on the beach, I couldn’t believe it. It was just an awesome surprise!”
That’s Ben, a sixteen year old who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in March this year.
He’d just stepped out of the surf after an epic morning with Mick Fanning – as part of a Starlight Wish. Surfing is his number one passion but he’s had to put his passion on hold as he receives chemo.
Fans of Mick Fanning will know he’s been a long-time supporter of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, becoming an ambassador last year. Mick’s morning in the surf with Ben and his brother is the third wish that Mick has granted. And it comes not the back of Mick opening the new Starlight Express Room at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane back in March.
Ben’s Starlight Wish was a complete surprise. His family travelled from Adelaide to the Gold Coast with mum Lucy, step-dad Simon and identical twin brother Jack along for the ride.
“Mick spent hours with me in the surf. We had a blast. I can’t thank him enough,” Ben said. “I also want to give Starlight a big thank you. They have been so supportive to me and my family during the past nine months. I’ll never forget today.”
Fanning said watching Ben surf made his day.
“Ben’s Starlight Wish was to go surfing so I thought I’d take him and his brother our to Snapper Rocks at Rainbow Bay, one of my favourite local surfing spots. Seeing how excited they were to catch their first wave really made my day. It was such a great morning.”
“I love being involved in Starlight, giving back and making someone smile after going through a tough time,” Mick said.
“It’s the seriously ill kids out there who are the real heroes.”
“A week ago, Ben was in hospital undergoing chemotherapy, and today he was out surfing with me – what an inspiration.”
Starlight Children’s Foundation CEO Louise Baxter said that every Starlight Wish is tailored to the child in question.
“A Starlight Wish is a dream come true for seriously ill kids and teens like Ben, and their families, giving them something positive to look forward to during their treatment,” Louise said.
“This Christmas we’re aiming to grant 132 life-changing Starlight Wishes to kids and teens around the country.”
The Foundation grants about 500 Starlight Wishes every year and this year granted its 9000th Wish.
Check the gallery of Ben’s special morning surfing with Mick Fanning here on the Gold Coast:
Get more information about the Starlight Children’s Foundation or donate online at starlight.org.au.