" you do need to know (and I hope you realise this often) that your gift to one
person is actually a gift to so many. We will forever cherish this day that let
us forget how ugly cancer is and realise how beautiful life can be "
- Nikki, sister of Chris who had his lifelong wish of driving a Ferrari granted early in 2014
Gwen's Helicopter Joy Flight
Gwen has Stage 4 Breast cancer, receiving palliative care at home. Gwen’s cancer has spread to her bones and lungs, has had a complete left hip replacement and has excessive pain. There is no cure or way to stop her cancer, the doctors are just trying to keep her comfortable and slow down the progression of it.
For her whole life Gwen has always wanted to take a sightseeing helicopter ride. We teamed up with the amazing Microflite Helicopter Services who kindly provided 50% off the usual costs, Peter who is the Operations Manager was incredible to deal with and did all he could to ensure Gwen's comfort. Adam, their pilot for the day, was such a gentleman and looked after Gwen with such care. Gwen along with her best friend Michelle were able to have the experience of a lifetime with a full day Wine-Food-Fly Yarra Valley Tour including a 3 course lunch at Yering Station where Dan and the staff at were just wonderful and attentive to the girls.
Thank you Microflite Helicopter Services and Yering Station for putting in so much care to ensure Gwen’s day was incredible for her. Please read below as Gwen shares her wish day story.
As the day grows nearer my expectations grow as does my excitement. My lifelong desire to ride in a helicopter flight is coming true! Finally, my Wish Day has arrived and after a fabulously comfortable chauffer driven ride into the city I find myself on 'Lift Off' and my excitement grows. Myself and my best friend Michelle (who found out about Orange Pigeon and did all the application side and surprised me when she showed my part of the application,) I had no idea until then. We had a 'Hot Lift-off' which meant the rotors kept turning and weren't shut down, that differed so much from a lift-off from a cold engine it made the take off more surreal. Wow what a start to what becomes the most indulgent and memory giving day.
My first flight of the day is awesome, I forget to take photos as I'm completely engrossed in the sensation of upward flight and all my senses are firing. The scenery is astonishing, to be so close to the ground and see so much detail. We fly forwards and onward to our destination in the Yarra Valley 'Yering Station Winery' and after the amazing sensation of landing we are met by Orange Pigeon's Wish Ambassador the lovely Kara Gandolfo who has taken photos of our landing (thank goodness) and greets us with the most amazing big bunch of long stemmed red roses which take pride of place on my dinner table.
More photos of the exquisite scenery from our dining table and the restaurant which served such wonderful a'la'carte food so good that we took photos to remember each dish. I received even more gifts and toasts of champagne but the most memorable of all was a vase with orange fabric flowers which will last forever and I look at every day on my kitchen bench and it always brings a smile to my face - a great way to start a day.
I had such a great time I forgot all about my pain and temporarily felt good for a day and even weeks to come with every memory. It was the best feeling ever, even if I was running on adrenaline. But best of all are the memories and the friends I've made plus Michelle and I are going to save up for our 1yr goal- on the anniversary of my Wish Day we will take a short flight with MicroFlite then a dinner at Crown casino to celebrate another year (don't forget the chauffer driven car).
Thank You to The Orange Pigeon Inc.and Kara for her attention to detail, and the happiness and caring of all at Orange Pigeon.
Denis's Circle of Strength
Denis had cancer and he shouldn't have lived for as long as he did according to doctors. He had received treatment for the past two years, and in the last six months has had experimental treatment, which we all hope will help someone else in the future.
Denis had always wanted to see the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo, so his niece Debbie applied for Denis and his family to be attend and be a part of this special day with Denis. They got to enjoy seats in the Gold Section together, along with this a Limousine transfer to and from home was organised.
Debbie said "some people like surprises, but for the whole family knowing that this wish had been granted ten days’ prior, gave everyone a boost. Denis has 7 children, all have partners, 11 grandchildren, and my mum (his twin) my dad and our family, so you can tick off nearly forty crazy happy people and that doesn't include all the doctors, nurses, bowls club, RSL, etc. everyone shared in this excitement for Denis.
As the day neared, Denis was low. He wasn’t able to go in the limo as he had to stay in his chair so had to go by taxi bus. The limo was filled with Lindsay (Denis’s youngest son) his wife and children my mum and dad, and Clem - Denis's best mate who was the surprise element of the day for Denis. We met the taxi and drove together to Etihad, talking on our mobiles to Denis. Lots of kids waving, laughing, smiling, mum crying (always does this) and singing. Only the grandchildren had good voices. What a wonderful time.
The final five to go to the tattoo were Denis and Wendy (the twins), Robert, Pauline (Roberts wife who is the most incredible woman and also Denis's carer) and I gave my ticket to Clem. The five had a wonderful day, singing, smiling and always a few tears.
As mum said IT IS A DAY THOSE FIVE WILL TREASURE FOR ALWAYS, thanks to the Orange Pigeon.
I had a great day with my Dad, lunch and spending time chatting about life. Denis and Dad (Ron) were very close, closer than brothers. Denis, Mum and Dad were all born on the 13th September! Dad was five years earlier, but they spent great times together and Wilma, Denis's wife.
To the Orange Pigeon, thank you for granting this wish, not only for the smiles and happiness it gave Denis, but the ripple effect to his family and friends, such a wonderful and positive feeling."
RIP Denis 19 September 1938 - 10 March 2016
Richard's Jamala Experience
Richard had end stage Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. His wish was to spend a night at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra. Richard’s wish was granted but sadly he passed away after the wish surrounded by his dearest family and friends.
Richard enjoyed his wish experience of a 3 day stay with his wife Lynne and his very dear friend/carer Malcolm at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge, which is situated on the banks of the Molonglo River next to Scrivener Dam in Canberra (which is also a National Zoo & Aquarium read more at the end of Richard’s wish below) Richard had comfort that Lynne now has happy memories amongst all the very challenging times ahead. Lynne said “the wish experience was Richards dream and everything was perfect.”
Richard enjoyed his wish experience immensely. He not only got to spend one night at Jamala Wildlife Lodge but was granted an extra complimentary night from the Jamala Wildlife Lodge owner Mr Tindale,
who we thank along with Andrea who helped to coordinate everything to come together nicely for Richard to enjoy his wish. Mr Tindale expressed that it was an honour to meet Richard and assist with his wish experience. He said "it has given me a whole new lease of life and l can't thank you and The Orange Pigeon enough."
Lynne has expressed her deepest, most heartfelt thanks to The Orange Pigeon for making Richard's wish come true, for what we had arranged for her husband, the phone calls, making sure Richard had everything in place with the support of The Canberra Hospital staff and Jamala Wildlife Lodge staff. Lynne said, "Kara, l don't know how to thank you and everyone at The Orange Pigeon for what you did for Richard, he had the best time, we couldn't stop talking about it when he was able to come home, it really did give him a new lease of life, energy."
Discharged from hospital a few days after his wish experience, Richard was able to spend an extra month living with his wife with support services, family and friends around him. The family bought Richard a puppy and he could not forget the wish experiences he shared with Lynne and best friend Malcolm at Jamala Wildlife Lodge.
Our care does not end at the cessation of the wish or death of the wish recipient, if a family member chooses to remain in contact with The Orange Pigeon we are always happy to talk with and support them with love and compassion.
RIP Richard 4 October 1949 - 25 April 2016
Sue's Amazing Bong Su Experience
Sue has terminal Brain Cancer, her wish was to have an up-close experience with an elephant. Sue’s daughter in law Belinda contacted The Orange Pigeon to tell us about her mother in law Sue. She wanted to do something that would make Sue smile after being diagnosed with short prognoses terminal brain cancer.
She knew that Sue loved elephants so we organised for Sue and 5 of her family ...members to see Bong Su, the largest male elephant in Australia at the Melbourne Zoo. Belinda said “it was the most amazing, breathtaking experience anyone could do, especially with loved ones. Seeing Sues face after the experience was priceless, seeing her smile and shed a tear of happiness was the best thing for me."
Sue said, "I have always loved elephants, seeing Bong Su up close was surreal, he was so elegant and very big, ha ha!" The Melbourne Zoo staff and experience was excellent from start to finish, providing so much information and help, highly recommend to anyone to do this.
Belinda said, “our family would like to thank The Orange Pigeon for allowing Sue to have a time to remedy, we are so grateful, we will continue to support The Orange Pigeon in any way we can, Thankyou xx”
We hope that this experience has lifted not only Sue, but all of your family. Thank you to Lisa from the The Melbourne Zoo - Zoos Victoria for helping to make Sue’s experience extra special.
Craig has terminal Adrenal Cancer and has undergone multiple rounds of surgery and chemotherapy. He wished to spend some quality time with his mum, nanna, aunty and his cousin Jack. and just relax with them on the beach.
With the helo if Q1 on The Gold Coast we were able to secure a 3 bedroom Executive Spa Apartment for them for 7 nights.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks also kindly donated complemenntary admisiion for Craig and his family so they could have some fun and smile.
Craig's mum said that Craig was overwhlemed and so happy. It was the little things that made them smile Debbie said "I can't stop crying, thank you for everything, and thank you for lovely bath robes and bathroom products in the main room for Craig and I."
Gary has GBM Brain Cancer. His wish was to spend some quality time with his family. Gary’s cancer is taking hold of him and he wanted to have some special time away with his family. We organised Gary, his wife Louise and two daughters, Olivia and Jessica, to have a 3 night stay at the gorgeous Peppers Broadbeach on the Goldcoast in a beautiful Ocean View 2 bedroom apartment.
It was also Gary’s 50th birthday whilst he was away and we snuck in a special birthday cake up into their room to celebrate the occasion. Peppers on Broadbeach were also gorgeous with their kindness to the family and organised a few special treats for the family to be waiting for them in their room upon arrival.
Gary’s wife Louise said “Granting my husband family holiday wish and also celebrating his birthday has been very much needed. Opening the door to the apartment we were all excited what we saw. The surprises were very special and exciting received by all. The apartment was luxurious and we loved the decadent chocolate cake. Our time together was relaxed and enjoyable. Thanks for bringing back some laughter and smiles.” - you’re all more than welcome
RIP Gary 17 February 1966 - 3 March 2016
Game - Set - Match For Helen
Helen has been battling Breast Cancer since 1996, she has faced many difficult challenges along the way. Her husband Gary thought it was time for Helen to have some happiness in her life.
Helen’s husband Gary nominated her to come to Melbourne from Queensland to watch her beloved tennis at the Australian Open. Helen loves her tennis and has been referred to by her close friends as a tennis tragic w...ith a lifelong wish of being at the Australian Open.
They had a 3 night stay in the heart of Melbourne and were chauffeur driven to and from the airport which Helen said was “were sheer luxury to ride in.” They got to go to several matches during this time with the highlight being the Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber match.
Helen said “there was not one thing that was a disappointment, it was all perfect. I have you and your team to thank for that, and I will be ever grateful for that incredible opportunity to experience my dream, which it was until then, just a dream. You don't know what you've for me and I will never forget it as long I live. These wonderful things come along often with amazing timing, as most of us are currently going through treatments or waiting for results of scans. It is a great and wonderful distraction for us as we continue on this amazing journey of ours. So, from the bottom of my heart I thank you for making my dream come true, and I will never forget it. Fancy me sitting in Rod Laver arena, and only 6 seats from the front. WOW!!!! Helen .xx"
We are so happy your wish came true for you Helen. LOVE ALL!
A big thanks to Interparcel Australia for helping us get Helen's wish pack to her in speedy time.
Angela's Quality Time in Tassie
Angela had lung cancer, her wish was to sail on the Spirit of Tasmania and enjoy food adventures in Tasmania with her daughter and grandson.
Angela had always wanted to go to Tasmania and only a few days after her daughter Nadine, had sent in an application to The Orange Pigeon they received bad news of Angela’s cancer spreading to nearby lymph nodes. She was shattered and wanted to go then and there to Tassie - she cried not because she is going to die but because she thought she wouldn't get the chance to go. We rushed Angela’s booking and got her on the next available Ship out.
Thanking Winsome from the Spirit of Tasmania for all he did to help Angela and her family whilst they were on board and providing them with some awesome meals and comforts.
We got back yesterday from 8 days of amazing food adventures. I feel so grateful to have been able to spend some quality time with my mum and my son in this fragile time of her life. So thank you so very much! And thank you to everyone who donates to The Orange Pigeon Inc. such a fantastic cause.
RIP Angela 1 July 1950 - 7 January 2016
Desmond's Reunited With His Son
Desmond has been diagnosed with metastasis lung cancer, stage four. He wanted to reunite with his son and have one last Christmas with his family before his health deteriorated.
Desmond’s wish was to be reunited with his son who he had not seen for 30 years, and to have a final family Christmas with his son, daughter and granddaughters. We were able to fly his son from Tasmania to be with his dad, sister... and nieces. We organised for the family to stay at the Opal Cove Resort for 2 nights where they were able to reunite and enjoy each other’s company.
Desmond’s daughter, who had nominated her dad for this beautiful wish said “This meant the world to my dad and brother to be reunited after 30 years and I hope you realise how much happiness you brought to my dad and to us to see him so happy and to have brought a smile to his face after all his illness and decline of health of late.
It was a brilliant, beautiful, yet moving reunion of family members and I know my father will cherish the memory as will my brother and my two teenage daughters and myself. It was over 30 years since my dad and my brother Ian had seen each other or even talked and it brought tears to my eyes for the reconnection of them both. The photos, I will hold close to my heart always and one that both my teenage daughters will cherish forever of their poppy. As will the trip down memory lane, with places visited again as adults from when we were kids.
We wish to say a heart warmed thank you for your generous wish granted for my father, an amazing gift that would not otherwise have happened if it were not for The Orange Pigeon and the wonderful supportive and dedicated workers behind the scenes making our family reunion wish come true, who not only paid for the wish but totally made all the arrangements, I know my brother, Ian was totally blown away when he was greeted at his front door by a gentleman from SVR Limousines, this was the first sign of a good weekend planned for the family reunion - he had such a stylish vehicle!”
We are so happy that Desmond was able to reunite with his son after all these years and have his family reunited for one last Christmas together. Say it loud.. say it clear.. You can listen as well as you hear - It's too late when we die! Call that someone you've wanted to call, don't wait - you just never know, they may have been waiting all their life for your call.
Rodney's Meet n Greet with Paul Kelly
Rodney was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme Grade 4 Brain Cancer. His family organised for Rodney to see his favourite singer Paul Kelly at the Bimbadgen Winery in NSW. Paul Kelly is Rodney’s favourite musician,
Rodney’s cousin Richelle contacted us to see if we might be able to make Rodney’s day even more awesome by meeting his idol.... Of course we said we would do all we could to make this a reality. Through Paul’s management, in particular Mel, we were able to say YES!
Richelle said “Paul’s time was completely focused on Rodney. He was very patient and asked a lot of questions about what Rodney was going through. He gave us way more than I expected. Rodney was so happy it was a really good day, thank you again for all your help. It was such an emotional day for us all thank you again. Wendy (Rodney’s wife) was very excited Paul made them all a vodka and squash, not that Wendy needed it at the time. Wendy even provided some inspiration for an upcoming song for Paul, she can't remember what she said but his guitarist said "there's a song for you Paul right there”
We are so glad that Rodney was able to meet his idol Paul Kelly and have some laughs with him too.
Heilke Holds His Family Close
Hielke’s wish was to go to Kangaroo Island for a few nights to spend quality time with his family. Heilke’s had advanced cancer which had spread to his brain. His wish was to spend some quality time with his family before his illness took its toll on him. Heike got to spend 2 wonderful nights on Kangaroo Island staying at the beautiful Tammar Ridge, with his family.
With great thanks to SeaLink Kangaroo Island for their incredible generosity in offering a 50% discount for the family to travel to Kangaroo Island on the ferry. Your kindness and incredible help with so many elements in Hielke’s wish is so appreciated.
Hielke’s daughter Naomi said “He had an amazing time even though he was unable to get down to the beach. He spent his time either sitting out on the deck looking down at the beach or in the bed which also overlooked the beach. He took lots of photos. We had wallabies and kangaroos right outside the house and lots of beautiful birds flying around. Even the drive and ferry provided a beautiful scenic trip. We got the trip in just in the nick of time thanks to you and your amazing work and we are all forever grateful.”
Spending time with your family is the most valuable thing you can do. We are so glad that Hielke was able to have such special time with his family before he passed on. The moments they shared there is something his family will forever hold dear to them.
RIP Hielke 27 August 1947 - 7 December 2015
Brenda's Heartfelt Evening With Oprah
Brenda has ALS/MND her wish was to see Oprah’s show with a possible meet and greet. We are so happy to say Brenda got her wish.
Brenda has had a difficult life, she endured childhood physical abuse and sexual abuse from a very young age that was ongoing for many years. She left the family home at a young age and had her daughters at a relatively young age, eventually raising them as a single parent for many years, a job she did extraordinarily well.
In 2002 Brenda decided to give her friend Patrick (a friend of 28 years) a chance to go out on a date. This date went well and the friendship turned into a loving companionship and married in 2005 and still to this day are a total inspiration of an image of devotion, commitment and love. Brenda has had a few health issues the last 10+ years ranging from a bad back to Hashimoto disease. These conditions made her incapable of working and Patrick had to leave work to care for her due to inabilities to care for herself.
Christmas 2014 was normal for Brenda’s family. Brenda and Patrick always do Christmas breakfast, however her children noticed slight weakness in Brenda’s right hand needing assistance to open bottles and jars she once could open. Brenda put this down to a pinched nerve on her spine it will sort itself out. This condition went for about a month before the family noticed it worsening and by early February 2015, it looked like Brenda had had a stroke her right side was not very functional she was dragging her foot and not walking well.
.In March 2015, Brenda saw a Neurologist who diagnosed Brenda with ALS + suspected FTD. This is a form of MND (Motor Neuron Disease). The diagnosis hit the family very hard. Brenda’s daughter Nicole said “since diagnosis mum had gone from the most beautiful, vibrant, smiley, happy, very positive spiritual person anyone would ever meet, to the most dependant person that is unable to move, talk, eat, etc, yet still had the biggest smile on her face and manages to laugh all the time.”
The family were just recently told that it's very unlikely Brenda will celebrate another Christmas with them, so they decided to bring Christmas forward so Brenda could be a part of the 2015 Christmas celebrations. The family celebrated this day as they normally would on 31 October 2015.
Brenda’s daughters wanted to do something special for their mum who is their inspiration and knew just what they needed to do. Try to get Oprah to meet their mum. Nicole said “If you spoke to anyone of us girls we could tell you how much of our lives consisted of watching her show. The discussions we had as a family whilst watching her show or after. The movies she was in that we watched with our mum. Mum saw Oprah as a large inspiration to her. When our mum’s world was dark and gloomy it was you that helped guide her back to the light. Our mum loves Oprah and we know what it would mean to our mum to meet her in person, with us girls by her side before she left this life from a really horrible life debilitating disease that to date has taken almost all of her but her beaming smile and faith. We believe Oprah would appreciate seeing her smile as much as we do if she met her in person.”
The Orange Pigeon could not resist and wanted Brenda’s wish to come true. We organised tickets for Brenda and her four daughters to attend Oprah’s “An Evening With Oprah” show in Adelaide on 4 December 2015. Unfortunately, when we called we were advised that all of the Access seating had sold out so decided to call the Adelaide Entertainment Centre to see what could be done for Brenda. She just had to be there. With thanks to Josie from the centre a wonderful comprise was organised and we were able to get Brenda there. We organised transfers with Access Adelaide Taxi’s who were incredibly patient and so very helpful.
Then we had the enormous task of getting Oprah’s attention. Oprah Winfrey Oprah is a mega star who is incredibly busy. The goodness of her is so underestimated. Some people talk the talk, but Oprah certainly walks her walk, in abundance! Once she found out about Brenda she quickly agreed to meet her during her sound check and spoilt Brenda and her girls with being Oprah’s special guests with a reserved space where they could order from the menu to their hearts content! The fact that Oprah stopped and gave Brenda her time and was so incredibly kind, it means so much to the family at this time whilst they are facing such devastation. The warmth in their hearts now will help them get through the weeks to come. Nicole said it simply “My heart is full.” This photo speaks volumes of the joy and happiness Brenda experienced and of the deep compassion Oprah has for people. She is truly an angel placing her hand on Brenda’s heart. Thank you Oprah,Thank you.
Thanks to the tireless work of Brenda's daughter Nicole her beautiful mumma's wish came true. Be very proud of your efforts little one xx
Doris' Wish - For the Love of Her Team
♫ Good Old Dane Swan Forever ♫
Doris has been a lifelong supporter of the Collingwood Football Club and she even baby sat the teams President Eddie McGuire when he was young boy.
Doris had a 5 year battle with Lymphoma. When she was very unwell in hospital she was told on 24 April 2015 that she had she had a week or so left to live. Her response was “I just have to live until Saturday (25 April) to see my boys win” and that they did! (bless her heart).
Doris' sister in law Maria called to see if we could arrange something special for her and that she adores Dane Swan.
When The Orange Pigeon contacted Collingwood Football Club to see if they could help they were more than happy to do what they could for such a loyal supporter.
Dane jumped at the chance to give back a bit of love to Doris and this video message is the result.
Thank you Collingwood Football Club and thank you Dane Swan for your compassion and kindness in doing this video message for Doris.
Sadly, not long after having the pleasure of watching her hero's video to her, Doris passed away. Her family were so grateful that she got the opportunity to see the video and it remains extremely important to them.
RIP Doris 25 October 1950 - 30 April 2015
Peter's Wish -
That Photobooth Rocks!
Peter’s Celebration of Life wish was held on 31 May 2015. Peter was a 47 year old father of two. In September 2014, Peter was diagnosed with melanoma. This was a big shock, however treatment was started immediately with a trial treatment to shrink five tumours on his brain and had his lymph nodes removed from under his left arm. The treatment was successful up until mid May 2015 leaving him with only a shadow of one tumour.
On the 15 May, Peter fell ill and was admitted to hospital. After a spinal tap the results showed that the cancer had formed a blanket of ‘slime’ over his brain and in to the spinal fluid - (only 5% of people get this diagnosis.) Peter was given a probable diagnoses of three weeks remaining.
Peter decided he wanted to celebrate life and not sit around waiting for his illness to progress and arranged a party for
family, friends and work colleges in Brisbane to attend his Celebration of Life party. Peter’s wife Karyn contacted The Orange Pigeon to see if we would help with a very important element of the night - a photo booth to capture the night forever. Of course we wanted to help and organised this through That Photobooth Rocks, who kindly discounted their fees.
Karyn said “Vince was lovely and so wonderful to have at the party. Seriously without The Orange Pigeon Inc. granting Peter's wish the night would not have been the same. These memories will live in our hearts forever. Thank you.”
RIP Peter 11 July 1967 - 11 August 2015
Darren's Wish - Fishing and Hoping
Darren had Kidney Cancer, which sadly had spread to his spine and liver. He is a proud dad to 3 gorgeous children Oliver 11, Josh 7 and Tessa 6 and is Derryn’s loving husband. His initial wish was to go on a barramundi fishing trip with his children, but his cancer is taking over and Darren is now paralysed and confined to a wheel chair and tires very easily, so we had to alter his wish, slightly! Bringing a fishing experience to him!
Darren was treated... to a very awesome experience at the Melbourne Boat Show. Our Ambassador Ben Roarty organised all of this through his good friend Paul Worsteling from Chanel 10’s IFISH w TACKLEWORLD. Darren is a big fishing fan. Paul (and his gorgeous wife Cristy) kindly spent a lot of time with Darren and his children and the kids all had a chance to have a fish in the Trout pool and Barra Tank!
They all caught a trout which was filleted for them for their dinner that night! The family were also gifted with some goodies from SHIMANO Australia Fishing and some goody bags from other generous vendors at the show. Darren had tears in his eyes and was said he was so thankful for everything that he and his family experienced.
We are so thankful to be able to have been a part of such a special day bringing much needed smiles to Darren and his family, and to partner with iFish and Shimano. Thank you to Paul & Cristy, Shimano, the kind folk at the Melbourne Boat show and to our two Ambassadors Lisa and Ben for caring so much and making Darren's day very special.
RIP Darren 24 September 1973 - 16 July 2015
Anthony's Wish - State of Origin Dreams
Anthony is 42 years old who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma with a poor prognosis. The mole on Anthony’ foot was rubbing on his shoes so he decided to get it removed - he never thought it could be melanoma. But when he went back to the doctor to get the stitches out he was told that was exactly what it was. He was diagnosed with stage four metastatic melanoma, which has spread to his liver, groin, behind his knee and lymph nodes.
His wife Cecelia nominated him for a wish, to meet Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, and whilst we tried hard to get his wish granted, we were unable to do this whilst the band was in the country. Instead to Anthony’s delight we organised a few days in Melbourne to attend the State of Origin Game 2. It was the news that both Anthony and Cecelia needed to hear, as that very day they had been told that Anthony’s cancer had spread to his brain.
Anthony decided to come to Melbourne and live his life. He loved being here for 3 nights with Cecelia and sent messages throughout the night to let us know they were having an amazing time. Anthony said when he got home “I just wanted to take time to thank you once again and i feel very lucky to have been on the receiving end of your generosity”. Thanks to our wonderful Ambassador Ben Roarty for securing some wonderful seats at the game for them.
Lou's Wish - Start Your Engines!
Lou was treated to an amazing day at the SKYCITY Darwin Triple Crown V8 Supercars Championship the Hidden Valley Club and had a wonderful meet and greet with V8 Champion Jason Bright. Lou is a young 39 year old from Darwin. She is married to Bernie and have two children Jake 16 and Tayla 11 at home and Bernie has two older daughters Hope 31 and Cassie 27.
Lou’s Cancer journey started 2 years ago. She was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer (bowel cancer) which has metastasised to her ovaries, her diaphragm strap, gall bladder and other parts of her bowel. She has had several operations since her initial discovery of cancer after a routine appendectomy,
including a total hysterectomy andpertonectomy and she is currently on the second lot of chemo therapy and tires very easily.
For 5 years Lou has worked at the V8 supercars event in Darwin as an internal shuttle driver for all the spectators and had great fun doing it. This year she is unable to work but her sister Belinda knew she would have loved to be a spectator instead. Lou has a love of cars and racing
Through the AMAZING support & compassion from the Northern Territory Major Events Company Pty Ltd, in particular Pam, who fully donated a full day experience for Lou and her family to the SKYCITY Triple Crown V8 Supercars Championship the Hidden Valley Club. They were able to enjoy a 6 hour beverage package, a buffet luncheon, general admission and V8 Supercars Paddock access and admission to Race and Rock concerts where they enjoyed listening to Jimmy Barnes play some of his old favourites. Lou and her daughter Tayla were surprised with a magnificent meet and greet with Holden V8 Driver Jason Bright and chatted for more than an hour about all things racing.
Lou is now determined to support The Orange Pigeon and spread to others the work that we do. We are so glad that you got to experience such incredible days and thank the Northern Territory Major Events Company Pty Ltd, Jason Bright and also our Ambassador Ben Roarty who organised the meet and greet with Jason. So many magnificent elements working together to create such a magical day for Lou and her family.
Clare's Wish - Quality Family Time For Clare
Clare has had one of her bucket list items ticked off, that being a nice comfy couch she can get out of with ease, which she can sit and enjoy family time with her children instead of being restricted in her bedroom away from them.
Clare has stage 4 Breast Cancer that has spread to her liver bones and now brain. Clare’s sister Tara said “there is no cure for stage 4 metastatic Breast Cancer. The medication Clare is on caused rapid weight gain and muscle weakness causing immobility. This couch really means a lot to Clare and her kids making life a little more comfortable.
"We all are really grateful to Jenny and the team at The Orange Pigeon for making this wish come true.”
We are so happy that you can enjoy some very special time on your cloud of comfort new comfy couch with your children without being restricted to your room.
Brian's Wish - Cheer Cheer the Red and The White
Brian has a great love for the Sydney Swans. His wish was to go to a game and meet some of the players, he grew up in South Melbourne Victoria, even playing a few games for South Melbourne Reserves. Brian has terminal cancer and unfortunately his health has declined significantly and he is now unable to travel (he lives country NSW).
Instead our fantastic Ambassador and ex Melbourne Storm player Ben Roarty organised very special video messages from Dermott Brereton, David Parkin, Brad Johnson, Barry Hall and Ben himself. We hope this brings an enormous smile to Brian - we think it's pretty special.
Brian has a great love for the Sydney Swans. His wish was to go to a game and meet some of the players, he grew up in South Melbourne Victoria, even playing a few games for South Melbourne Reserves. Brian has terminal cancer and unfortunately his health has
declined significantly and he is now unable to travel (he lives country NSW). Brian has a great love for the Sydney Swans. His wish was to go to a game and meet some of the players, he grew up in South Melbourne Victoria, even playing a few games for South Melbourne Reserves. Brian has terminal cancer and unfortunately his health has declined significantly and he is now unable to travel (he lives country NSW).
Instead our fantastic Ambassador and ex Melbourne Storm player Ben Roarty organised very special video message...s from Dermott Brereton, David Parkin, Brad Johnson, Barry Hall and Ben himself. We hope this brings an enormous smile to Brian - we think it's pretty special.
Enormous thanks to Ben for organising this video and to Dermott, David, Brad, Barry and Ben for their kindness and taking time out of their busy schedules to record this very special message for Brian.
Check this out AFL Footy Show great guys showing amazing support to an ex blood (Dermie is pretty funny too!!)
RIP Brian 25 September 1939 - 25 July 2015
Elain's Wish - Fun in the Sun
Elaine is has Motor Neurone Disease (MND) - which is a degenerative neurological disorder. Elaine is unable to walk, has lost the use of hands, neck control and her swallowing and speech are now affected. Elaine has such a positive outlook with a great sense of humour and her smile is always there.
Elaine has never had a holiday in her life, she has 5 children and her partner passed away when they were young. She dreamed to have a holiday in Brisbane since she could remember. Her ffriend Rosemary is from there and she just wanted to see her again.
The Orange Pigeon organised for Elaine and her carer to fly from Geraldton to Brisbane for 7 nights where they stayed at the Burleigh Beach Tourist Park in one of the cabins.
Sheena said "Elaine's holiday wish was truly wonderful!! Elaine and I just can’t put into words how grateful we are to Orange Pigeon."
Rose's Wish - Goal Kicked!
Rose has terminal breast cancer which has spread to both her lungs and lower spine with a limited prognosis. She was nominated for a wish by her daughter in law Roxanne.
Rose is a crazy West Coast Eagles fan and dreamt of meeting the team and going to one last game with her family. With the help of the amazing team at the West Coast Eagles who helped us secure 11 tickets to the game... and leapt to help with the meet and greet - Rose’s wish came true this week. Rose and her family were able to have a meet and greet with the team at their training session on Tuesday. Rose had a great time meeting her favourite player Elliot Yeo. He made quite a fuss of Rose and spent a lot of time chatting with her and signed her new jersey for her. Rose and her family then got to go to the match on Saturday to watch her team tough it out with St Kilda. Rose's favourite place to sit is at the front in the middle of the oval and that is exactly where her seats were located. Elliot even got a goal, and her daughter in law told Rose it was especially for her.
Roxanne said prior to Rose’s wish coming true “she can't wait, it’s so nice to hear her laughter and talk about something positive. You are giving her an amazing gift that would not otherwise happen. Sometimes I feel like the adult sufferers are overlooked but I am so grateful we found you and could never thank you enough. Thank you more than I can even express. This will mean the world to Rose and I hope you realise how much happiness you will bring to her and to us to see her happy.”
After a fantastic day and great memories for Rose we received this message “Your foundation have given us a gift that we can hang on to forever. Thank you again so much, you would not believe how much this means to Rose and us as a family.”
Thank you Michelle from West Coast Eagles for your help in ensuring Rose's wish was granted and giving her and her family some amazing moments to always treasure, in particular Rose's big smile!
Bobby's Wish - A Rebel Yell with Billy Idol!
Bobby is very unwell in hospital with throat cancer. He has been a lifelong fan of Billy Idol and had planned to see him at his concert in Sydney but was too unwell to attend. Bobby's niece Hayley contacted The Orange Pigeon about her uncle, initially wanting for Billy to meet her uncle, however as he is now in an isolation ward in hospital, this was not possible.
We contacted Billy Idol's management team about Bobby and without hesitation we received a call on Saturday morning to say they would like to do what they could. Today, we received a lovely video message for Bobby from Billy and Steve Stevens, it is short and sweet but enough to bring a smile to Bobby and his family. We know it is a treasured video message that they can watch over and over again.
We thank Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, Billy’s management team, in particular Leo (what an amazingly kind man) - We know how busy you all are with the current tour and for you to take the time out that you have to put this together for Bobby is breathtaking - The simple things in life really do make the most difference.
Dottie's Wish - Dottie's Special Sleep Over
Dottie was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in May of 2014. She is a positive and happy lady and her diagnosis was a shock to her and to her family and friends. She absolutely loves life and her adoring sister Sandy nominated her for a wish to have a sleep over with 14 of her favourite family members and friends. The Orange Pigeon worked very closely with Sandy in achieving this. The Orange Pigeon organised them to have their sleep over at the luxurious Q1 Resort and Spa Apartments on the Gold Coast with yummy Mondo Pizza & Pasta Bar (who were so helpful) for dinner. Sandy said “What a significant effect it can have to all involved with making memories, celebrations, healing and also grieving - we shared so much love and laughter.”
Sandy had also organised a Stretch Pink Hummer through Key To The Coast Hummer services, but Dottie was not feeling well enough to participate. The Key to The Coast were extremely compassionate and understanding with this.
From Sandy - Dottie's sister
The morning of our special weekend Dottie again was taken by ambulance to hospital with chronic vomiting and migraine. Talk about emotional roller coaster!! The Key To The Coast (pink hummer company) were just amazing only ever showed compassion. They even assured me that to let Dottie know that they would take very good care getting her into the Hummer, as this was a concern that she could not be able to get in. Susan kept setting my mind at east that the driver was very strong and a big man. They are
just beautiful too. So wonderful to work with caring and understanding people. Dottie asked to be discharged once the vomiting stopped and migraine subsided. Arriving the next day, she is one tough lady!!!
It was just incredible staying at the Q1, which The Orange Pigeon organised, with views over Surfers Paradise and the beautiful Ocean. I just can't put into words how wonderful it was for not only Dottie, but her daughters, granddaughters, sisters, my daughter and granddaughter. We all called it the beautiful house in the sky.... Heaven on earth!! Watching the sun rise up on a new day and singing to Dottie “You are my sunshine, my only Sunshine” I send that text every morning, so it was special to sing it to her snuggled up next to her in bed.
We will never ever forget that 24 hours, it was amazing and full of laughter and yummy food provided by The Orange Pigeon!! We didn't get to ride in the Stretch hot pink Hummer, but I am determined to make it happen somehow, with the assistance of Susan from Key to The Coast.
With love and gratitude to Jenny and The Orange Pigeon Inc. & Susan, Gareth and Frank from Key to The Coast Hot Pink Stretch Hummer.
Kathleen's Wish - Queen for a Day
Kathleen has terminal Caecum Cancer which started in her appendix and it's quite a rare cancer. She is now quite frail and attempting the last tries at chemo and radiation to slow the progression of disease. Her illness makes her extremely tired and unwell. She did however have a wish to go out to lunch with her family and friends. We organised through the Park Hyatt in Canberra for Kathleen to be spoilt with a High Tea last week, along with 11 of... her close family and friends. The Hyatt Hotel Canberra - A Park Hyatt Hotel were wonderful and didn’t miss a beat in making sure everything ran smoothly for Kathleen’s special day.
Kathleen’s daughter Ruth said “Mum thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, I was so glad she was well enough to go. It was a beautiful occasion that we will all remember fondly. A huge thank you to The Orange Pigeon for - making this happen, it definitely brightened mum's day and made her feel very special.
I'm so happy and grateful you guys were able to do this for my beautiful mum, it means so much. I really hope this organisation continues to grow - please let me know if there's anything I can do to help you guys further, the work you are doing is very important!”
RIP Kathleen 26 May 1951 - 16 July 20015
Doreen's Fishing Trip
Doreen’s wish was to fish off a boat for the weekend. Doreen has cancer which has spread throughout her body including her brain and sadly she now has a limited prognosis. She loves fishing and was nominated by her daughter to have a fishing trip away.
We organised a weekend away in Mansfield staying at the beautiful The Deck Quarters. She spent a beautiful pristine day out on Lake Eildon with her husband John and our Ambassador Ben Roarty, who took time out of his weekend to be with Doreen. Doreen and John had real quality time together and it is something we hope they can hold closely for a while to come.
Thank you to Ben and to The Deck Quarters for making Doreen and John's weekend extra special.
RIP Doreen 12 January 1955 - 18 January 2016
Brenda's Fleetwood Mac Night
Brenda loves Fleetwood Mac and we were happy to present her wish to her/
Brenda has metastatic neck cancer. She was undergoing chemotherapy but unfortunately had to stop treatment due to significant side effects.
Brenda is a big fan of Fleetwood Mac so we organised VIP tickets for her to attend their concert in Adelaide with her husband. They loved the concert and afterwards stayed in the city at the beautiful Playford Hotel in the luxury Loft Suite.
Brenda said that she had a really good night and loved their time at the Playford as well. We are happy that we could provide you both with some respite and distraction from what you are bravely facing.
Tracey's Wish Comes True
Tracey has terminal cancer with a limited prognosis. Her wish is to take her two sons to Queensland for some special time together before her illness takes hold.
The beautiful ladies from Italian Sports Club Of Werribee and a group of volunteers run a yearly girls night in fundraising night. For the past 2 years they have raised additional funds to fund one of The Orange Pigeon wishes. This year it was Tracey's wish.
Today Sandra, Lisa & Nicole presented this to her. To say it was incredibly emotional for all involved would be an understatement. To see Tracey with her mum being showered with flowers and love was incredible and to know that Tracey can now have some quality time with her boys is so comforting. There are times in life where the words "thank you" doesn't seem enough.
Thank you also to Mark Elevato - PTM for your kindness in contributing to Tracey's wish.
Ken's Storm Wish
Ken was a big fan of the Melbourne Storm and loved Billy Slater and Ben Roarty. As our Ambassador, Ben kindly organised for Billy to send a video message to Ken which arrived on Monday 16 November.
Ken's family said "Ken couldn't believe it and loved it, he watched it over and over again. It made us all cry seeing how happy it made him."
RIP Ken 17 November 2015
Casey's Fighting Wish
Casey has stage 4 bowel cancer she is a mum of 2 little girls, Myah 3 and Harper 1 - she has a fighting spirit and her wish was to meet her idol Ronda Rousey - She flew down with her husband Harley from Queensland in an attempt to meet Ronda.
With the help from our amazing ambassador Lehmo, Pete from UFC and Nine News Melbourne 9 News and of course Ronda herself (beautiful and generous lady) Casey's wish was granted today. Tune in at 6.00pm to see Casey's wish on Nine News - Simply amazing - Thank you to all those who supported Casey's wish and put up with our constant barraging of requests for the meet and greet!
Lorna's on Top of The World
Lorna has advanced Stage 5 Metastatic Cancer, her wish of being with her family on a ride on the Melbourne Observation wheel came true on Sunday.
“The fact that many family members attended over shadowed the actual ride and the weather! Lorna Joyce was so excited and after it she was so complete.
William of Orange the ww2 pigeon’s legacy has made it to the hearts of Lorna and the rest of her family. On Sunday 25 October 2015 Lorna’s wish was granted, we went for a ride on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. Our interpretation of the pigeon’s spirited message simply read “Courage”. Courage meant different things during this wish, for Lorna it meant find the courage to put the cancer aside for the day, also it meant conquer your fear of heights which those family members who have that fear did so and finally to the family members who wouldn’t normally connect to the mob, they too found the courage to connect and feel what was a true family bond.
Our family will be forever grateful and Lorna’s energy during the wish can only be described to Albert Einstein’s famous quote “Rejoice your family in the beautiful land of life.
”A big thanks to the Orange Pigeon and like the WW2 pigeon we too will continue his legacy by spreading our message far and wide in hope others have an opportunity to experience his spirited message.”
Thank you to Melbourne Star Observation Wheel for your help in ensuring this wish could happen with Lorna's large family.
Rachel's Lasting Video Message
Rachel wish was to leave her children and loved ones a video message for them to watch at milestones in their lives and times when they needed to see her.
Rachel was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cervical cancer called Small Cell Carcinoma whilst pregnant at 15 weeks gestation. Rachel opted for the chemo which would not harm the baby and hopefully stop the growth of the cancer. After 4 doses of chemo, the cancer stopped responding to the treatment, and the baby had to be delivered at 29 weeks. A tiny, beautiful baby girl Hannah was born weighing 1kg. 5 days after the birth, Rachel started a more aggressive approach to treatment & chemo was started once again. She also endured 6 weeks of radiation and 48hrs of brachytherapy.
At 7 months after treatment,
After 7 months of treatment, Rachel was given the all clear after a radical hysterectomy was performed. Life returned to normal as much as it could, and she enjoyed being a mum to her children. However, three days before Christmas 2014, doctors removed a tumour from Rachel's brain. Radiation treatment was advised by her doctors, and she was released from hospital on New Year’s Day 2015. At the 6 week check up for her brain tumour, Rachel was given the all clear again. However she began to experience severe pain in her back and an MRI scan was performed 2 days later, showing the cancer was now in her spine. There was a 0% chance of survival and if the treatment worked she may have anywhere between 6 weeks and 9 months left to live. After many long months of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, Rachel was able to celebrate her 34th birthday in June, surrounded and loved by family and friends. It was a night to remember and a time for everyone to celebrate Rachel's last ever birthday with her.
However, despite Rachel's courage, strength and will, she gained her angel wings on the 12th August 2015. Prior to Rachel’s passing her friend Fern contacted The Orange Pigeon asking if it might be possible to help organise a videographer and video editor to film and edit some special moments with Rachel and her family and for Rachel to record some messages for her children. There were hours and hours of footage collected and given to her family, and we wanted to share a little bit of the precious moments captured, lasting memories that will be treasured forever by her husband Shane and beautiful, gentle, sweet children Maison who is 9 and Hannah who is 2.
A lot of friends and family also helped contribute financially to the video which was an amazing effort for the family. Fern said “I truly could never fully express my gratitude to all the people who made this happen, but I hope they know inside how much it has meant to so many people to know that Rachel’s children will not forget her. The ONLY thing I did have control of was preserving her memory. Rachel had said to me that her biggest fear in all of it, was that she was scared of being forgotten by her children. In all the scariness of being diagnosed with terminal cancer, this was her biggest fear.
“Rachel said to me not long before she passed, that knowing that her babies could see her and hear her whenever they wanted after she was gone, meant the WORLD to her, the thought that she would miss out on consoling them when their hearts were broken as teenagers or giving them guidance of making smart decisions, etc. all made her very sad. She so wanted to be there for all of that, however the next best thing was to put some of that advice in to the video for them and hope that one day it helped to guide them."
"I truly cannot thank all of you enough for all that you did for me, Rachel, Shane, Maison and Hannah. You have made the difference of a lifetime to all of us and words cannot even begin to describe the emotions I feel when I think of the beautiful people that you all are. The difference you have made to this family is beyond words - completely life changing, and it gave Rachel so much comfort in her darkest days knowing that she would not be forgotten. Thank you for giving a dying mum, a grief stricken family and a desperate, heartbroken friend this comfort.”
We are so glad we could do this for Rachel and for her children. We encourage future recipients to consider putting a video together for your family. These moments are so precious.
RIP Rachel 18 June 1981 - 12 August 2015
Matt's Grand Final
Matt has stage 5 brain cancer. As a huge Hawthorn supporter, he was nominated by his wife to go to the AFL grand Final, and what an outcome he had.
Matt is a young 33 year old father of 2 young children. His life was going well, married to his high school sweet heart Rebekah for 13 years and had his dream of having his own small business. His world turned upside down in July 2015 when he had a terrible ...migraine that would not go away, after 24 hours he went to the doctor and was admitted to hospital with the awful news of his brain cancer and a shocking short prognosis that he will not see another Christmas with his young family.
Rebekah and Matt have been best friends since the start of high school and throughout this time Matt’s love for the Hawks has always shone through. She knew one thing would make him smile for a while - The Grand Final. Rebekah said seeing Matt smiling and cheering on his Hawks gave her an amazing feeling. Whilst Matt was not one to complain, she knew over the past few months it’s been very difficult to smile.
She said “Saturday is one day my family will never forget. The energy at the MCG was incredible and to have Matt’s team win and for him to be there with our children to witness and see Matt beaming was incredible. It's been a difficult few months and this day made that all disappear, it was a completely different world.
We cannot express our thanks to The Orange Pigeon for what they have done for our family, their love and care is amazing, and knowing they work solely on volunteer help with very little funds to help them, they are just incredible, thank you. We are just sorry we didn't get any photos on the day as we were too caught up in the excitement of the day!”
RIP Matt 18 January 1975 - 22 January 2016
Magic is in the Air for Karen
Karen had terminal pancreatic cancer, she had always wanted to experience the exhilaration of a tandem skydive with her daughter Samantha. We were happy to help her do this and thought Karen was incredibly brave to want to do something so thrilling! We know this bravery is nothing in comparison to how she has faced her cancer.
She had her family and friends come down to Canberra to watch her jump and received photos and a video of their experience.
After her big jump we organised for Karen along with her daughter to stay overnight at the beautiful Aria Hotel Canberra in a 2 bedroom apartment. Thank you to Roy who is the Manager of the Aria Hotel who went above and beyond to ensure Karen and her daughter had a wonderful stay.
Karen said "I can't thank you enough, it was something I had always wanted to do and helped me have an amazing experience with my daughter who will always remember this day. THank you too for the special photography package too. Jen, you were amazing, patient and so kind. Thank you for all that you did for me"
Photos courtesy Canberra's 1WAY FM
RIP Karen 4 November 1961 - 1 January 2016
Up Up and Away for Keran
Keran who has Stage 4 Chondroblastic Osteosarcoma (a type of cancer that starts in the bones), had her wish of a ride over the beautiful Barossa Valley has come true.
Keran’s mum Di initially applied for Keran to have a hot air balloon ride over the Barossa Valley, but due to her cancer she had to have her leg amputated and wasn't able to ride in hot air balloons due to safety reasons, So we organised for the next best thing - a Helicopter ride over the Barossa Valley - which turned out to be the best thing with the wonderfully kind people, in particular Bridgette, at the Barossa Helicopters who were amazing and ensured Keran’s wish was perfect in every way. Keran got to fly with her family using 2 helicopters in tandem!
The weather was wonderful which allowed the family to have spectacular scenery throughout their flight.The family got to experience two wineries and have lunch at the gorgeous Kies Wines Winery.
They also stayed the night in the heart of the Barossa! A fabulous experience and quality time for Keran with her family.
Keran's mum said “the day was an absolute treasure, what a perfect day; the helicopter pilots were unbelievable girls and treated us with heartfelt respect and adoration. I must say Keran thoroughly enjoyed the visits to the wineries, lunch and the flight. We will be forever grateful to your foundation. Your service has enabled us to enjoy what was a perfect life experience.”