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Did you know that last year, aside from granting hundreds of wishes, we also gave away treats to more than 100 children and had over 800 children attend various events put on by Rays of Sunshine? In this blog, our Wish Engagement Manager Katie tells us all about the fabulous extras that our wish families benefit from.

Hi! I’m Katie, the Wish Engagement Manager at Rays of Sunshine and my role here is to oversee and manage our amazing treats so that as many children as possible are given the many opportunities that come our way.

Treats at Rays are always varied and have ranged from attending a studio session with Mark Ronson, to attending a private sound check with Olly Murs, to children being a mascot for the England football team. Our events include our fantastic Christmas parties, teen cooking parties, our first ever summer garden party with our friends at Milly Days and the VIP opening evening event at Brent Cross’s The Beach!

I want to share an example of a personal favourite treat that I’ve been privileged to offer over the last five years.

Take a moment and clear your mind. I want you to imagine a bright blue cloudless sky, just like the pictures you drew as a child. A gleaming red Ferrari (although the yellow is my favourite) sitting in the pit lane of Silverstone’s Stowe track. The ignition is turned on and there’s a small roar from the engine as it readies itself to go. Then a professional driver turns to you and asks, “are you ready?” You set off slow and steady out of the pits and then the roar intensified as the V8 twin turbo engine, capable of reaching 63mph in 3.2 seconds, begins to propel the car forward. The wind is blowing in your face, the adrenaline rush takes over as you’re navigated around the circuit. Suddenly, you realise that the car is no longer roaring but you are, whether it’s laughing or cheering or screaming, the noise is all you. You cannot hold back because it’s a thrill, it’s exciting. And then the tempo begins to change and the car begins to slow before coming to a rest, back in the pits where it all began. The USB connected to the in-car cameras is handed back to you so you can relive those few minutes at any point in time. With a smile that radiates pure happiness, you reunite with your family to tell them all about it!

This is the exact experience that we are lucky enough to offer to several wish children and their families each year, thanks to our friends at Ferrari.

We know who to invite to each treat because we are told so much about each Wish child in their application form, and then throughout their Wish granting journey we get to know them and know what makes them unique.

Every child is different, it’s what makes them who they are. However, when we all get together at this event each year, there’s a hub of activity and families get to know each other and are united through their passion for all things Ferrari (and you must roll the R’s!). The Ferrari team are wonderful and have many volunteers on hand who know everything about the cars and their history, and they’re all happy to expand the knowledge of anyone who is hungry to know more.

But what if fast cars aren’t your thing? Well don’t despair, there are many kind people and organisations out there, and we often receive calls and emails offering us tickets or experiences to pass on to our wish children and their families.

Be it sports, music, theatre, trains, planes or even that favourite school lesson, there’s usually something for everyone. And it’s OK if your interests change, just let us know and who knows, I might be getting in touch very soon!

Katie Clark, Wish Engagement Manager