Event Showcase | Granting Wishes with Event Expertise & Connections

Many of you will have heard about Make A Wish Foundation – a charity on a mission to ensure that every child in Australia diagnosed with a life-threatening illness enjoys a life-changing “Wish”.

Granting these wishes requires the generosity of individuals and businesses to pull together resources and skills to tailor a day (or a few days) the child will treasure. The anticipation of the Wish and the experience itself is carefully planned to create a positive, lasting impact on the child, their families and the community involved. 

So, when we recently met Eliza (El) Ocaña, Account Director at The Company We Keep (an event agency based in Sydney) who told us all about her recent involvement in granting a little boy’s wish, we wanted to learn more….

Getting involved with Granting Wishes…

El explained that prior to starting with The Company We Keep (TCWK) she had worked on Channel 9’s The Voice for seven years. During that time, she had met a beautiful family, who’s youngest Will, was terminally ill. When El was invited to Will’s Celebration of Life Party (due to them needing to stop treatment) she offered her skills and connections to plan a celebration Will and his family would treasure.

“My networks were incredibly generous and we had an amazing party at Merlin Entertainments’ Madam Tussauds which included; catering from BBQ through to dessert table, roving entertainers, magic show, treasure hunt, DJ, carnival activities, personalised signage/ badges and photobooth. The party ended up costing the family $80!”

When El started working at TCWK, she told her new Director Nige Ruffell about her passion for making personalised events for children dealing with illness. He saw an immediate synergy with their own company ethos and was more than happy to give their time and expertise to these types of projects.

“The Company We Keep exists to create extraordinary live experiences and what could be better than the happiness reward then to do this for a child/ family in need.”

Delighted to be volunteering her time again, El and the team at TCWK, jumped on the opportunity to help the Make A Wish Foundation crew make a young boy, Rocco’s wish come true.

Coming in late to the project – just one week prior to activation day – it was all hands paws on deck to ensure Rocco’s wish was granted to perfection.

Rocco with the Paw Patrol

Meet Rocco…

Rocco is just 5, and like many youngsters LOVES Paw Patrol. However, unlike many other children his age, he’s been battling with a long-term illness that keeps him away from his extended family and friends. Diagnosed at just 20-months old with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Rocco has spent most of his treatment in isolation and away from public spaces due to a high risk of infection. Going on adventures, like his favourite Paw Patrol characters (and most young children), hasn’t been a reality Rocco has enjoyed…. Until now!

Rocco’s Wish…

The challenge for the team at Make A Wish Foundation was to create Rocco his very own Paw Patrol Adventure.

*For the uninitiated, the animated series focuses on a boy named Ryder who leads a pack of search and rescue dogs known as the PAW Patrol. Each pup has specific skills based on a real-life profession - such as a firefighter, a police officer, a pilot and a construction dog - and they work together on missions to protect their local community of Adventure Bay.

Rocco’s adventure started at Sydney airport where he was greeted by the Make A Wish team and “Ryder”. Sitting in the Qantas Lounge, Rocco was given a video to watch that outlined his mission – to find Rubble (one of the Paw Patrol characters).

What followed was an epic adventure between four locations; a fire station, a police station, a golf club and a beach. Rocco was given clues and activities to complete to lead him to the final destination and rescue Rubble! (And, where he got to play with a real puppy just like Rubble)

Paw patrol make a wish event video and chase

How was The Company We Keep involved…?

Coming in late to the project, most of the schedule was in place. So TCWK stepped in to help with fine tuning the little details and making sure the experience ran smoothly.

After a lot of research on Paw Patrol, the team were responsible for providing theming and set pieces at each of the locations; including bringing to life Paw Patrol HQ at the fire station, additional theming for the party at the end of the adventure and a large welcome banner at the airport.

They also provided a staff member at each location to set-up and decorate. Thanks to their suppliers they were able to provide all the equipment/set pieces free of charge.

Following the day of adventure, they reached out to their contacts at Merlin Entertainments again and were able to provide an additional full day of entertainment and fun for Rocco and his family at their Sydney attractions.

TCWK look forward to working with the Make A Wish Foundation on an ongoing basis to support them in granting future ‘Wishes’.

Rocco with the Paw Patrol, Police officers and Fire Brigade

Final note…

This is not your typical “event showcase” that we cover on Event Birdie, but we wanted to highlight how the skills, resources and connections we all have as event professionals are perfect for creating rewarding experiences just like this. What we loved most about this example was that everyone involved (and there were a lot!) came together with their skills, passion and enthusiasm to make just one boy (and his family) very happy – and the impact of their actions will never be forgotten.

If you’re keen to volunteer your skills and resources to Make A Wish Foundation they’d love to hear from you.