'Miracle boy' reveals ultimate wish
After five years battling cancer, 8-year-old Elijah Amoah is ready to have some fun.
The Wellington boy considered going on a family holiday, but then decided his ultimate wish was a jungle-themed fort and flying fox in his backyard.
"If I just went on a trip or something that would be it," he said.
He imagines an "upstairs and downstairs" fort complete with a "twirly slide" that he can play on with his friends and brothers - Noah, 16, and Taziyah, 6.
Over the next four weeks Wellingtonians can pitch in to make Elijah's wish come true by swiping their Fly Buys card to activate the Carter Fountain in Oriental Bay.
Every time a rewards card is swiped at a beach-side kiosk between 6pm and 11pm from tomorrow, Fly Buys will donate $5 to Make-a-Wish NZ, which grants wishes to children coping with life-threatening medical conditions.
Elijah said he was very happy Make-a-Wish was going to transform his parents' backyard into an adventure playground.
"It's nice that we just have a bit of support, just nice people that care."
In 2007, Elijah was found to have an aggressive form of leukaemia. At last count he had 3500 Child Cancer Foundation beads of courage - each one representing a medical procedure.
"There was some good times and there was some bad times, but most of it was bad, but it was OK," Elijah said of his time in hospital.
His latest major procedure was a stem cell transplant 18 months ago, mum Olivia Amoah said.
"So far it has worked . . . we just have to always stay positive and believe that he's been cured. He's our little miracle boy."
Fly Buys chief executive Lance Walker said the idea came about as part of a campaign based on something good happening every time a rewards card was swiped.
"I just hope that Wellingtonians do get down there and swipe their cards and have a bit of fun with the fountain, but also know that by doing that they're doing a bit of good for Elijah."
LONG, HARD BATTLE
The future is looking bright for cancer survivor Elijah Amoah, but the journey to remission hasn't been easy.
The 8-year-old was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia - a cancer of the blood and bone marrow - at 3.
He spent 450 nights in hospital, was poked with 500 needles, had 70 blood and platelet transfusions, 100 nasal gastric tubes inserted and 50 lumbar punctures, his mum Olivia Amoah said.
He had a bone marrow transplant from younger brother Taziyah in 2009 after initial treatments stopped working.
"We were pretty lucky that we had an exact same-sex sibling match, it's like winning the lottery," Mrs Amoah said.
But Elijah relapsed in 2010.
"He was much, much sicker than he had been . . . He could barely stand, couldn't walk, had double vision."
He underwent another transplant - using stem cells from an umbilical cord flown in from New York - 18 months ago.
He is still on antibiotics to assist his weak immune system, has regular blood tests and was admitted to hospital twice with pneumonia this winter.
The Dominion Post