Living like a YouTuber in a mansion.
That was eight-year-old Kobe Duck’s wish and thanks to Make-A-Wish Australia it’s now a dream come true.
For Kobe staying at a mansion in Clarence Town late last month and participating in activities his favourite YouTubers do, was a break from what’s been a scary few years.
One night in November 2018 he went to bed with a sniffly nose and woke up the next day paralysed.
“We took him to hospital and over the course of a few hours he became more and more paralysed and lost his ability to breathe,” his mum Kristie said.
“Then we were transferred to the pediatric ICU at John Hunter Hospital where he was sedated and put on life support and still to this day he is ventilated.”
Kobe has Acute flaccid myelitis, a serious condition affecting the spinal cord.
“He still has significant upper body weakness, he uses a wheelchair but he can walk using a brace,” Kristie said.
“He lost his ability to swallow and speak but he has since regained the ability to speak – 12 months ago he was completely non-verbal.”
The diagnosis changed his life but he has defied the odds and has a passion for life.
“He was a fit, healthy, active five-year-old the day before he woke up paralysed,” Kristie said.
“Kobe spent twelve months in hospital so that impacted on every aspect of his wellbeing – he’s just missed a lot of life.
“However, considering what he has been through he has a love for life and he has taken it in his stride.
“He is very cheeky, outgoing, fun-loving, adventurous and quick witted.”
Kristie adds it was escaping with his favourite YouTubers that got him through his time at hospital.
“He was always watching YouTube in hospital, it became an escape from his reality and it was always a joke every time the doctors came in they would ask him if he needed anything and he would say: ‘Yes, I need a lamborghini and mansion’,” Kristie said.
“When he found out he was eligible for a wish he knew exactly what he wanted to do.”
The family went into total lockdown last year, amid the pandemic, in a bid to keep Kobe safe and healthy.
Kristie and her husband Michael only left their home in Cooranbong for groceries, but there was a silver lining that got them all through – Kobe’s dream would come true as soon as the situation allowed.
“Make-A-Wish really kept the excitement going,” Kristie said.
“They sent him letters, packages and little surprises so it was really good.
“They never forgot about Kobe and his wish.”
Kobe is one of the 800 children who have been waiting for their wish to be granted.
COVID-19 forced Make-A-Wish Australia to put their work on hold last year until it was safe to bring them to life again.
Kristie says the family is incredibly grateful to the charity for everything they’ve done.
“I asked him if this was everything that he hoped for and he said: ‘It is more than I hoped for’,” she said.
“I want to say thank you to Make-A-Wish for making a little boy’s dreams come true.
“We’re forever grateful for the memories that he was able to create.”