Wish helps boy navigate rough seas

Wish helps boy navigate rough seas

Christmas has come early for a Taumarunui boy with a very big wish.

Tuhoe Hohaia is just seven years old and he has a life-threatening cancer. But thanks to the work of the Make-A-Wish charity, he now has a weapon to win any fight.

Tuhoe has spent the year waiting for the cure to his illness and for a piece of good news. In February he was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma and for 27 weeks had intensive treatment.

Tuhoe had a big wish. He asked for his own pirate ship and that is exactly what he received today courtesy of volunteers for the Make-A-Wish Charity.

It took hundreds of hours to build it and thousands of dollars. Almost all of it was built in an Auckland garage in the suspense of its maiden voyage.

"It might be the beginning of a journey today, but it's the end of quite an effort, and not just us," Make-a-Wish volunteer Michael Webb-Speight says. "The community around us, the people that we know in our business and the people who've had their street blocked up for the last few weeks – it's been remarkable."

Just three months ago Tuhoe was in hospital and now he's the master of his own pirate ship.

It's a bounty he's earned after travelling rough seas which stretch back much further than his struggle with cancer.

It was a journey he shared with both of his sisters, removed from their parents and taken in by legal guardian Fiona Maunder.

"I think he faced a certain amount of trauma before he came to us, and what he went through in hospital made him relive all that trauma," she says.

In Tuhoe's seven years he's proven he's a fighter. He'll need that strength for the battle ahead, but it's one he's winning. His blood tests are looking positive.

"His blood tests are very good and I believe that if he remains cancer-free for six months the chances will be very good for the future," Ms Maunder says.

So while he's still waiting for that piece of good news, Tuhoe's now equipped for the stormiest seas.

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