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Seriously ill nine-year-old captains his own ship

A seriously ill nine year old from Cornwall was given the exclusive chance to ‘captain his own ship’ thanks to Planet Cruise, P & O Cruises, Ideal Shopping Direct and Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity,

Samuel Kessel, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia when he was three years old and underwent extensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a Bone Marrow transplant. After four and a half years in remission, Samuel sadly relapsed in June this year. Sam is a mature and brave boy who never complains, he has a passion for boats and his greatest wish was to be a captain of his own ship with his brother Olly by his side.

Earlier this week Samuel travelled to Southampton with his mum, Tamsin, Granddad, Mike, and younger brother, Olly.

After a night in a hotel, the family were driven to Southampton Docks where they boarded P & O’s Ventura Cruise. Upon arrival on the ship Sam and Olly were presented with their very own captain’s uniform. Their first stop was a tour of the bridge and an introduction to the ship’s captain, who allowed the boys to sound the ships foghorn.

The exclusive behind the scenes visit included a full inspection of the galley with the executive chef and a chance to try out the virtual cycling bike in the gym. The day concluded with Samuel’s favourite lunch of fish and chips served in the main restaurant, prior to the passengers boarding.

After the wish Sam’s mum Tamsin commented: “We had an absolutely amazing time, a day none of us will ever forget. Everyone was so nice and the boys have been treated like kings let alone captains! We have had to focus our attention on Sam due to his illness and at times his younger brother Olly been a tiny bit forgotten. It was particularly special for both boys to enjoy this incredible experience together and for Olly to share the limelight. The day made it possible for Sam to forget about his illness and treatment and for the family to create a precious happy memory.”

Sam’s dream day will feature on the Planet Cruise show on Ideal Shopping Direct on Tuesday 15th December, between 8pm and 9pm,  when viewers will be given the chance to donate to Rays of Sunshine and help make wishes come true for other brave and inspiring children. Sam’s unique experience was made possible thanks to Planet Cruise, P & O Cruises, Ideal Shopping Direct and children’s charity Rays of Sunshine, which grants wishes for seriously ill children across the UK.

Crawford Davidson, Chief Marketing Officer of Ideal Shopping Direct Limited, said:

“When we heard about Samuel’s wish, we were delighted to put Rays of Sunshine in touch with Planet Cruise, one of our retail partners, to help make his dream come true. We’re thrilled that he and his family enjoyed a fantastic day with P&O, and welcome the chance to raise additional funds for Rays of Sunshine when we air a short film about his experience as part of our regular Planet Cruise TV Show on Ideal World.”

Sharon Campbell, General Manager of Planet Cruise, said:

“It was such a pleasure to organise Sam’s wish to be a captain for a day, we are delighted that the Kessell family had such a good day and had lots of fun. We are in the business of cruising and I truly believe if you have the ability to make someone’s dreams come true, who thoroughly deserves it like Sam does, then you should try and make it happen. We wish the Kessell family and everyone at Ray of Sunshine a fantastic Christmas.”