Happy fan meets hero
MITCHELL Fels cannot walk.
But his debilitating duchenne muscular dystrophy hasn't stopped him taking the trip of a lifetime this month.
The 16-year-old got to see the World Wrestling Entertainment Smackdown show in Brisbane and meet his supersized heroes – all thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The Waitakere College student's muscles are wasting away.
His life-threatening condition made him eligible for the charitable trust's grants.
Mitchell says the seven-day trip was unbelievable.
"It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life," he says.
"I wasn't that confident my wish would be granted so I was really excited when I got it."
The trip also included two national rugby league competition games, theme park visits and a special one-on-one encounter with the elephants at the Australia Zoo. But the highlight was meeting wrestling superstar Paul Wight, known as The Big Show.
Mitchell says the 2.13 metre, 220kg hulk wasn't as tough in person as he is in the ring.
"He's different to what he's like on television – quite funny and chatty," Mitchell says.
The Swanson resident went with his parents and two older brothers and they all stayed at the Q1 Resort – the world's largest residential tower.
Mum Jan says there's no way the family could have paid for the trip itself.
"We never could have done it on our own," she says.
"It was just an amazing week of full-on entertainment. And something we'll never forget."
The mother of three says Mitchell was first diagnosed with duchenne muscular dystrophy as a three-year-old.
"He didn't walk till he was 16 months, and that's when we started asking questions," she says.
"All the muscles in his body are affected as well as his heart and lungs.
"We don't know what the long-term prospects are because the condition can develop in many different ways.
"But we just take each day as it comes and try to keep his health as good as it can be."
But Mitchell still has one more wish.
"I'd still really love to go to Wrestlemania in America one day."