Boat nets boy's wish to fish

A Wakefield boy recovering from a year of cancer treatment can now enjoy the great outdoors – and catch his dinner – in a new way thanks to a national charity.

On Saturday Don Hart, 11, received a brand-new boat complete with trailer, lifejackets and a fishing set, thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia last year and had to spend 10 months in treatment in Christchurch and Auckland.

His mother Rachael said in the year since the family had found out about Don's condition, he had undergone a range of treatments, including chemotherapy and a stem-cell donation.

She said he was devastated on hearing the news, particularly because he enjoyed the outdoors and fishing and hunting.

Although the bulk of his treatment was complete, he still went to Auckland once a month for a few days, she said. He will return to school towards the end of the year.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation has a policy against giving gifts that include motors, but the boat does include a set of oars.

"It will be a row boat for a little while," she said.

Don's father, Bevan, said Don had been excited to be able to pick a gift from the foundation. "When it's put to children that they can make a wish, it's a big deal. A lot has gone through his mind of things he would wish for."

Don said he thought the gift was "absolutely awesome".

"I felt really excited, I just can't wait to get out on the lake and do a bit of trout fishing."

Although he had originally been thinking of asking for a metal detector, he soon changed his mind, he said. "It's just good fun, you never know when the fish is going to grab your line [and] they taste delicious in the smoker. I would love to go out today but I'm not sure what Dad will think."

Totally Boating owner Michael Dobson said although he was "just a small cog in a wheel", he was happy to play a part.

"It's wonderful to see his happy face," he said.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

The Nelson Mail