The day my daughter's dreams came true

Maddy with her hero Bindi Irwin.
When we took our daughter Maddy to the hospital after a minor trampoline accident we just thought it was a normal part of childhood. A bump, a bruise and band-aid then we'd be on our way home in no time.
Unfortunately that bump led to a blood test, which in turn led doctors to discover that our daughter had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
It's a day we will never forget. We felt sick. We were devastated. It was like a nightmare that I desperately wished I would wake up from and it not be true. Not our baby girl.
From that moment on our life changed so much. We were in and out of hospital. Some visits were for a few hours for clinic or treatment. Others were for a few days or weeks on end. We relied on our family a lot as we also had a two and a half year old and an eight week old baby boy.
Days in hospital were endlessly boring and of course painful for Maddy, while extremely stressful for us. The only thing that brightened her day was a visit from Captain Starlight, who put a big smile on her face, held her hand and distracted her while she was having procedures.
Towards the end of her treatment Maddy discovered she could have a Starlight Wish – she was ecstatic, and she knew exactly what she wanted to do: meet her hero Bindi Irwin at Australia Zoo.
The wish gave us all something to look forward to. It was an unforgettable day for Maddy and she couldn't contain her excitement. She had so much fun, seeing so many animals. She even got to pat and feed a rhino.
Maddy with her mum, dad and brothers at Australia Zoo.
Maddy with her mum, dad and brothers at Australia Zoo. 
Maddy with her mum, dad and brothers at Australia Zoo.
She was beside herself when she met Bindi, giving her a big hug and having a photo with her. She even got her autograph, and met Terry and Bob too.
I missed the boys so much when we were in hospital with my little princess Maddy so the holiday meant a lot to us all as a family just to be together. My son Cooper especially loved meeting Bob!
Maddy's Starlight Wish was like a reward for going through what no child should ever have to endure. She talks about the zoo and meeting Bindi every day.
Hospital visits are now something that she looks forward to because she knows that we will go to the Starlight Express Room. The problem is getting her out to go home. She thinks she's one of the Captains and I am sure she will be when she grows up!
To see the smile that Maddy gets on her face when she spots her favourite Captain across the room is just priceless and for that split second you forget why it is you are there. Starlight has played a big part in helping our family get through what we did.
Thankfully Maddy is in remission now, but my husband and I will never forget her Starlight Wish. It's hard to put into words the amazing things the special people at Starlight do for families of seriously ill children and their families across Australia.
Seeing our baby smile despite everything meant so much to us and still does.
The Starlight Children's Foundation is facing a huge challenge this Christmas with $1.2 million needed to grant 185 wishes for seriously ill and hospitalised children and their families around Australia. Each Starlight Wish requires approximately $6,500 in funding and this Christmas Starlight is asking Australians to 'Join the Mission' by rallying friends, family, colleagues and staff to donate to the cause.

read more from