<“I don’t think Ethan has ever felt as special as he did in that moment – to say he was speechless is an understatement!”>
14-year-old Ethan was first diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at 18 months old, after struggling to learn to walk. The muscle-wasting condition has progressed to a point where he now uses a powered wheelchair. The illness has led to some challenging times for Ethan, but mum Yvette says, “We’ve found a way to live each day the best we can.”
A need for speed
Ethan has been a lover of cars and racing since he was very young – but as Yvette says, no one in the family knows where his affinity for speed comes from! “As a family, we didn’t encourage Ethan’s love of cars particularly – we sometimes laugh that we have no idea where his interest comes from,” she says.
Nevertheless, Ethan’s passion for cars has grown and deepened over the years, and he finds comfort in losing himself in the world of cars.
Yvette says: “It’s such an important part of his life and it’s lovely to see him so passionate about something as a parent. He has this amazing bank of knowledge which he’s constantly adding to, whether he’s at home or at hospital – in any room, he’s probably the most knowledgeable person when it comes to cars!”
When Rays of Sunshine first asked Ethan what he wanted as a wish, he knew it would have to include his love of cars. Knowing how much his hobby means to him, Rays of Sunshine Wish Granters pulled out all the stops to ensure that Ethan’s wish would be an unforgettable car experience at none other than the world-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed.
<"It meant the world to us that he could be treated in such a lovely way!”>
Ethan’s family started their day with an exclusive tour of the Rolls Royce manufacturing facility in Goodwood, before being chauffeured to the Festival of Speed in one of the famously luxurious cars.
“The Rolls Royce tour was fabulous, and really made Ethan feel like a VIP,” says Yvette. “I don’t think he really believed them when they told him he’d be arriving to the festival in one!”
After arriving in style to the Festival of Speed, Ethan and his family were given a tour of the action, and offered money-can’t-buy experiences. The makers of his favourite car, Ferrari, even gave him a ride too! One of the reasons the manufacturer is his favourite is because its founder, Enzo Ferrari, had a son called Alfredo (also known as Dino), who was diagnosed with the same condition as Ethan.
Ethan’s wish was capped off by a particularly touching moment from one of the Ferrari team. After seeing the young fan in a Ferrari cap, veteran team member Peter Kox – who was part of the 2003 winning Le Mans Grand Prix Touring Sport team – tracked down the family, and gifted him his prized Ferrari fleece.
“I don’t think Ethan has ever felt as special as he did in that moment – to say he was speechless is an understatement!” says Yvette.
The impact of the wish
“Ethan deals with his illness so well, so it meant the world to us that he could be treated in such a lovely way,” says Yvette. Ethan is still talking about his amazing Goodwood experience now, she adds, and has plans to come back in the future.
“Anyone who is thinking about applying for a wish, do it. Don’t wait for tomorrow, do it now!”