Ten year old Max has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (a muscle-wasting disease) and two years ago lost the ability to walk. He loves watching documentaries about animals, so we at Make-A-Wish were very happy to grant his wish to be a zookeeper for the day so that he could get up close and personal with the animals that fascinate him the most…reptiles!
Max, from Brighton, arrived at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne along with his Mum, Lisa, eight year old brother, Samuel, and Aunt, Tanya. He was taken on a tour of the park by Head Reptile Keeper Tom, before heading for the reptile centre to get up close and personal with snakes, lizards and (a bonus!) a five year old tarantula called Rose! Max could manage just one word – “wow”!
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Diagnosed when he was just three, Max has undergone several operations – but has now made the decision, with his family, not to have any more treatment. Sadly, brother Samuel has his own serious illness to cope with, having recently been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome, which causes constant hunger and behavioural problems.
Lisa said: “When Max was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy it was very hard to take in. Now he’s older, he does ask a lot of questions and he does realise what will happen…in his heart, his mind and his body, everything’s giving up – but he will not give up himself, which is why his wish has been absolutely brilliant. We couldn’t have asked for anything else.”