Ernie’s wish was full steam ahead!

News release and photo for immediate use
Tuesday 1 May 2012

Ernie Brown, from Saffron Walden in Essex, was diagnosed with eye cancer at just three months old. Now four, Ernie is fascinated with trains. When Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK, the charity that grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions, asked Ernie what his one wish would be, it came as no surprise that it involved trains…

On Thursday 12 April Ernie and his family were treated to a special day at Barrow Hill Roundhouse in Chesterfield where they got to see the Tornado steam train. Ernie chose his wish after watching a Top Gear episode where the presenters set a race involving the Tornado steam train, a Jaguar and a motorbike (the Jaguar won!) – he loved the episode so much that he watched it over and over again when he was unwell.

On arrival at Barrow Hill, Ernie was taken to the engine shed before excitedly being shown the way to the Tornado. Ernie and his brother Stanley, aged six, spent the next two hours driving up and down the track, shovelling coal into the firebox, pulling the whistle and of course wearing the train driver’s hat! Ernie was then taken on a tour of some of the other trains before jumping aboard a High Speed Train for a special tour around the cab and power compartment – they got to press the horn and start the engine. Ernie’s Mum, Lisa, said: “I asked Ernie if he felt special on his trip and he said ‘No, I just felt like an ordinary train driver’. I think that says it all!”

After being diagnosed with Bilateral Retinoblastoma Ernie endured six cycles of chemotherapy and underwent operations every three weeks for the first three years of his life. After his second birthday his condition seriously deteriorated and he had to have a further five cycles of chemotherapy. As a result of the eye cancer Ernie is severely visually impaired but is currently in remission. He continues to be closely monitored with frequent hospital appointments and operations.

Lisa said: “The best part for me was seeing Ernie well enough to really enjoy his wish. It was also magical to see the boys, and their Dad, enjoying themselves.”

There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 to achieve this.

To make a donation to Make-A-Wish please visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk or telephone 01276 40 50 60.

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For more information about this news release please contact:
Hayley Epps: T: 01276 405093 M: 07557563214 E: hayley.epps@makeawish.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. More photos available if required
2. Please note that Make-A-Wish does not use phrases such as ‘terminally ill’ in order to respect the sensitive nature of life-threatening conditions and what they mean to children and young people and their families. We would ask that this approach is followed and that the term ‘life-threatening conditions’ is used in material for publication.
3. Make-A-Wish should be referred to as Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK in the first instance. Thereafter ‘Make-A-Wish’ or ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation’ is suitable. We would ask that you try to keep ‘Make-A-Wish’ on the same line.
4. Make-A-Wish grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. The charity was founded in the UK in 1986. Registered charity number: 295672/SC037479 www.make-a-wish.org.uk

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Make-A-Wish Foundation UK grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting a life-threatening condition. There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 and receives no government funding or lottery grants – so every donation really does count.

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