Beautiful story from the ABC in Adelaide - with compliments to Qantas staff and the Make-A-Wish Foundation
Make-A-Wish grants moon flight for 4yo Dwayne Franke who lives with epilepsy
After almost a year of planning, a four-year-old South Australian boy has had his wish to travel to the "moon" fulfilled.
Dwayne Franke experiences daily seizures and his medication is unable to control his epilepsy.
It means in the past year alone, he has been in hospital more than a dozen times.
Last night — after some pretty extensive planning — the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted that wish.
Donning an orange space suit, his parents took him to Adelaide Airport, where he was greeted by Darth Vader and Stormtroopers and issued a special ticket.
Dwayne got to sit in the cockpit of a specially-prepared QantasLink plane before the big flight, then took his seat in the main cabin as it "blasted off".
In what seemed no time at all, the space adventurers arrived at the "moon" to a lunar landscape — created in an airport hangar from rocks, tonnes of sand and special visual effects.
And just as the four-year-old suspected, aliens and superheroes including Spiderman and Batman, really do live on the moon.
Dwayne even got to plant a special flag in the sandy surface of the moon before making his return flight to Earth.
Dwayne's mother Rebecca described it as an "incredible experience".
She said her son had been distracted from recent medical treatment by the excitement of telling hospital staff he was about to head to the moon.
"They were trying to put in a drip and, between seizures and through all the hurt, he was trying to tell the nurses about going to the moon," she said.
"It is something that is distracting him from what he's going through at the moment."
She said he was "absolutely elated after the experience".
"He looked at the moon early this morning and said 'I went there last night!' It has been the most wonderful experience and our family will be forever grateful to Make-A-Wish and Qantas for making our little boy's dream come true."
Qantas manager at Adelaide Airport Paul Newman praised his staff who volunteered their time.
"It's been heart-warming to see Qantas employees from all over volunteer their time to make Dwayne's wish come true," he said.
"It's really been all hands on deck to make this a reality."
Make-A-Wish chief executive Sally Bateman said granting such dreams helped sick children and their families in tough times.
"Our wishes are about taking critically-ill children like Dwayne on a journey that creates a long-lasting impact and gives strength and hope," she said.
Almost a year of planning went into the expedition, which started when he was given a moon lamp to keep next to his bed.
He also got regular letters from an astronaut and worked hard to design the flag he finally planted on the lunar surface.