The parents of a young boy who was granted his dream princess-themed party by Make-A-Wish have said it was “really magical” to see how happy he was.
Following a terminal diagnosis of osteosarcoma – a bone cancer – in January of last year, 12-year-old Jacob Perkins sadly passed away on the 6th of November 2022.
Speaking to Pat Kenny, his parents Suzanne and Doug Perkins told the story of Jacob’s diagnosis.
“On the 8th of January he was getting his toys out of the conservatory from Christmas, and he just fell,” said Ms Perkins.
“His leg was very swollen. We took him to Tallaght Hospital, and he got scans and they sent everything down to Our Lady’s [Crumlin].
“They must have spotted something. Wednesday we went to Our Lady’s [Crumlin], and by Friday he was getting the biopsy and we were told on Friday that it was bone cancer.”
From there, Suzanne and Doug hoped their son would survive the diagnosis.
“From January we were given a bit of hope. We thought Jacob could be cured,” she said.
“His oncologist was very positive. She said ‘We’re getting through this, no matter what it takes. We’re going to get through this.”
“They gave him the best of treatments; they gave him the best of chemotherapy. It just wasn’t working for Jacob, his cancer was too aggressive, and the chemo was having no effect.”
Then, on the day of Jacob’s leg salvage surgery, the family were informed that the cancer had spread.
“They did a scan shortly before the operation and they still went in with the hopes of saving him, I think. But they had spotted a few secondary spots on his lungs that had spread,” she said.
On July 29th, they were informed that this meant his cancer would not be treatable, and Jacob’s diagnosis was terminal.
“It was the worst day of our lives, apart from the day when we lost him.”
‘He felt like a celebrity'
The couple said the granting of Jacob’s wish had a profound impact on his life.
Although it had been Jacob’s dream to go to Disneyland Paris to see the Disney princesses, his pneumothorax (collapsed lung) meant it was not possible for him to fly there.
So, Make-A-Wish brought Disneyland Paris to him.
“First of all, when he woke up that morning, there were presents outside the door for him. Cakes with a mermaid tail and his name on it … a little basket with goodies and a Make-A-Wish cap and a few other bits and pieces” said Ms Perkins.
“Then a makeup artist came to the house – Marc Jacobs came. Apparently, he’s very famous, and he did Jacob’s makeup, and he was lovely.
“Next, the big limo arrived to bring us all to Palmerstown House Estate … all our families had dressed up as princesses and princes.
“It was amazing to look at Jacob. He was overwhelmed when he looked out the limo and saw all the people standing outside.”
Make-A-Wish ensured there was a photographer and videographer there, to create lasting memories for Jacob and his family.
“Jacob always wanted to be famous, and throughout the whole day, he felt like he was famous … The highlight for Jacob was when the princesses started walking down the stairs, that was really magical, and his face just lit up. He was blown away.
“But by the end of it all, he was tired from smiling.
“He was a mermaid for the day.”
‘Make Jacob even more famous’
CEO of The Make-A-Wish Foundation Susan McQuaid O'Dwyer also joined the show to campaign for donations to allow for more wishes to be granted every year.
The Foundation receives no government funding whatsoever and is reliant entirely on the generosity of the general public.
“We have over 270 children on our waiting list. We’ve seen a 65% increase in the number of applications over the last year,” said Ms McQuaid O'Dwyer.
“It’s the likes of Suzanne and Doug and Jacob’s story that get us up every morning, and get us to do more for our children … We need to continue granting more wishes.”
“Jacob has touched all of us in the office ... We knew that Jacob still wanted to be famous, so as far as we're concerned, Make-A-Wish is determined to make Jacob even more famous than he was, or is.”
Newstalk has joined forces with Make-A-Wish Ireland to celebrate ‘Wish Week’.
Where there's a wish, there's hope. Every cent raised by Make-A-Wish Ireland will help grant life-changing wishes to the children who need them the most.
- You can donate online at ie/donate.
- You can donate €4 by texting MYWISH to 50300 (Make-A-Wish will receive a minimum of €3.60)
- Donate on Revolut by selecting Make-A-Wish in the Donations section.
- You can call Make-A-Wish on 01-2052007 to donate by phone.
- Bucket collections take place in shopping centres nationwide.
You can also show your support for the charity by drawing a star on your social media profile picture and donating by text.
You can listen back to the episode here: