Six-year-old Canberran, Paige Rule has always wanted to meet a mermaid, and last week she did, when she was granted her surprise Starlight Wish from the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia last year, Paige and her family required to relocate to Sydney for almost a year to be close to the Sydney Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy treatment.
“Life can get pretty bleak in the oncology ward,” said Paige’s mum, Kate Rule.
“We’ve had a really tough journey over the past 11 months, so we are really appreciative for what Starlight has done and continues to do for our family.”
Paige and her older sister, Phoebe, were given the chance to meet and swim with ‘the mermaids’ in the penthouse pool at the Q1 Hotel on the Gold Coast last week, complete with their very own mermaid tails. They were also able to check out the theme parks and enjoy some pineapple juice in the pool.
“We’re very blessed to be able to experience Paige’s Starlight Wish as a family. We just want our kids to be healthy and happy,” said Kate.
Paige’s dad, James Rule, added the wish to ‘meet the mermaids’ all started on a family holiday last year, where Paige discovered a swim-up bar where she could order pineapple juice.
“And all she wanted to do was have her pineapple juice in the pool again. And that’s where everything started … She also really wanted to meet a mermaid, and Starlight made it happen.
“I think Paige’s Starlight Wish is going to give her some positive memories to take out of this whole experience, rather than to just think about all the awful things that had to be done to her in hospital and turn it into a better experience for her,” he said.
“Paige is quietly determined. She’s very stoic and takes what life throws at her, which we’ve really seen in the last 12 months.”
The Rule family have now returned from Sydney, with Paige attending regular appointments at the Canberra Hospital. She says her favourite part of the adventure was “meeting the mermaids”, who gave her and her sister “a special shell so we can listen to the ocean”.