High-flying wish comes true for Gavin

'It was really fantastic'

Last updated 05:00 03/12/2013
Gavin Shamis was able to take a glide over Omarama with the help of Make-A-Wish New Zealand.

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A journey that began in America has had a happy ending in Omarama.

Eleven-year-old Gavin Shamis, who has leukaemia, wanted to soar (glide) at Omarama and thanks to Make-A-Wish New Zealand, the wish has came true.

Gavin has a keen interest in soaring and aviation and found the Glide Omarama website during his research.

Plans to bring Gavin and his family here were made by Make-A-Wish New Zealand and they were on their way.

Glide Omarama pilot Gavin Wills, who took Gavin up on two soarings, said he was contacted by Make-A-Wish New Zealand.

"We were told he (Gavin) had soared from Sugarbush in Vermont so we knew he had some knowledge of how things would work," he said.

"We met the family and found Gavin to be very intelligent and knowledgeable and almost older than his 11 years."

The first flight saw the pair at 19,500 feet, which is high altitude, according to Mr Wills.

"It was a perfect day and he obviously enjoyed himself."

Gavin Shamis described it as "an amazing experience".

"Our first soaring to 19,500 feet was amazing and on the second day, we soared to 14,000 feet," he said.

"It was really fantastic; thank you to everyone."

Make-A-Wish was established in the United States in 1980 and was inspired by a young boy, Christopher Greicus, who had leukaemia.

Christopher dreamed of becoming a police officer and local state troopers made his dream come true by providing a uniform and organising rides in a police car and helicopter.

When he died, his mother helped form Make-A-Wish.

The New Zealand organsation grants wishes of children and young people, between the ages of three and 17, with life-threatening medical conditions.

Gavin's wish to soar in Omarama was made possible by the American and New Zealand-based organisations working together to Share-A-Wish.

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- © Fairfax NZ News


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