Sixteen-year-old Ben has Vaters Syndrome and a big love for the music of his favourite musician Michael Jackson. His wish was to perform dance routines for two Michael Jackson songs in front of a packed audience.
This was a challenging wish to organise, so Make-A-Wish NZ contacted the New Plymouth District Council to determine the best options. Jordan McFadyen (Event Organiser) from Christmas at the Bowl Taranaki then became involved, and a decision was made!
Ben was keen to have a backing troupe of six dancers, so our Taranaki volunteers choose Raeleen and the girls from Dance Highway 45 to be part of his dance routines. Ben chose his two favourite MJ tunes: Smooth Criminal and Dangerous, to be the focus of his performance. Make-A-Wish NZ also organised a limo to be part of the occasion, picking up Ben from his house, taking him to the venue and returning him home afterwards.
Ben's family were ecstatic with how smoothly Ben's dance routines went, how well received he was by the crowd, and by how excited he was to perform. Ben's Mum Kylie reached out to let us know how delighted they were:
"Hi Kirsty, I don’t even know where to begin..... what an amazing night Ben had at Christmas at the Bowl! Right from the very beginning of his Make-A-Wish journey you have made it special. I’ve been crying on and off for the last few days - full of pure joy for Ben and doing his ultimate wish on stage."
"Raeleen and the girls from Dance Highway 45 have given Ben so much confidence over the last few months, it truly is amazing. Ben got emotional when the limo showed up. It was super cool to drive down the main street of New Plymouth on the way to the bowl. He absolutely loves his costume. Every little detail was mind blowing and we will celebrate with a special dinner thanks to Make-A-Wish."
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