I love my job title! How many people, when asked what they do, can respond with something as cool as ‘I’m a Wish Granter’? – It’s definitely a talking point!
More than that however, and I feel very lucky to be able to say this, I love my job.
When I started working at Rays of Sunshine I immediately knew that I’d found the job for me! I love spoiling people (I’m always being told off for going over the top for Christmas and birthdays!), so what better than to come in to work each day and be employed to grant wishes for children so deserving of being spoilt and of having a little bit of extra sunshine in their lives?
It’s difficult to imagine what it’s like for our wish children – going through so much so young, or for their families – navigating life with a seriously ill child, but thanks to my job I am starting to get an insight into their daily lives – and their strength and resilience is amazing. I’m also learning that a Rays of Sunshine wish is more than just a wonderful experience for the wish child, it’s a medicine, it’s precious memories created for the whole family and it’s a welcome distraction from the ongoing medical appointments and discussion of illness…the effect is greater than you could ever imagine.
As a Wish Granter, knowing the impact of a wish acts as the best motivation out there. This is so important because (trade secret here) sometimes, it’s tough! There are days when you come in to work and everything seems to be going wrong (it seems even the best jobs in the world aren’t immune from that), things can seem impossible and you wonder how in the world you’re going to make that particularly tricky wish come true…and then the phone rings…and it’s a wish mum telling you that her daughter, who is incredibly shy and barely ever speaks at school, stood up in front of her whole class to tell them about the wish you organised for her! Suddenly anything is possible – because you will move heaven and earth to try and give every wish child that same experience which was so wonderful that they can’t help but talk to everyone about it!
One of the best parts of the job is the opportunity to meet our wish children – we have events throughout the year which they are invited to attend – and it’s lovely to meet them and get to know them a bit more. I really love the fact that, once a child has a wish with Rays of Sunshine, then they’re part of the Rays of Sunshine family and continue to be involved in various ways with the charity – if you read our National Children’s Day blog, you’ll know that we even have wish children who now volunteer for us!
We also meet families on hospital days, where a whole team – including a princess, a caricaturist, Bollywood dancers and virtual reality (not to mention some truly lovely volunteers) – come with us to hospitals and we spend a morning with the children there, providing entertainment, fun and arts and crafts to brighten their stay. It’s great to watch even the shyest of children starting to open up and enjoy themselves thanks to our wonderfully talented hospital day team! It’s also a great opportunity to talk to the whole family and find out more about them…and for them to find out more about us, receiving a wish application from a child that you met on the day and seeing the wishes reflect the things they were excited to talk about means that you know they’re going to love their wish!
So far I’ve worked on some really varied wishes, from a trip to the Harry Potter studios (complete with wand and robe of course) to a princess for a day with an overnight stay in a castle (there was even a unicorn…how many people can say their job involves unicorns?!). We’ve had mermaids and policemen…ballerinas and Batman…meetings with Youtubers and bands and beloved children’s characters, we’ve organised some gorgeous bedroom makeovers with themes including superheroes, under-the-sea and an enchanted forest… The one constant, however, through all of the wishes has been the amazing people I get to work with; from the rest of the team in the office to our volunteers out there on wishes, from our suppliers (who deal with some very imaginative requests), to the play specialists and nurses we meet on hospital days…but most of all, the people that make it all worthwhile – our amazing wish children and their families.
When I was little, I’m pretty sure I wanted to be a princess, but now I know there’s something better. In my role I get to be the Fairy Godmother, bringing magic and sunshine (and yes…unicorns!) to the lives of some very special, very deserving children.