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“I wish to go to the KEF loudspeaker factory”
10 years old, Cheshire
All wish children are extraordinary in their own way. Many have faced challenges that most adults will never have to face. A wish has the power to elevate a child from the depth of their illness.
This is Max’s story of courage and positivity. From heart failure to meeting the Prime Minister on national television for the Pride of Britain awards. From watching films in a hospital bed to seeing a West-end musical, and so much more adventure.
Feeling the beat
10-year-old Max from Cheshire loves music speakers. Ever since he was a baby, he was fascinated - listening to the noises, feeling the vibrations, taking speakers apart, seeing how they work and putting them back together again.
“My dad loves vinyl and that’s influenced me. I’m into a lot of different music. Everything except blues and heavy metal!”
In the Autumn of 2016, Max was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. A virus was attacking his heart, causing it to enlarge.
He spent the next month in bed on the intensive care children’s unit. Max’s heart was beginning to fail. Functioning at just 15% of its normal capacity, it affected all of his organs.
Doctors assessed him for a heart transplant, and fitted a temporary mechanical pump while he waited on the transplant list. Without the pump, he would have died.
Mum Emma remembers, “It was awful, such a shock. Once Max was on the urgent transplant list we got into a weird routine of swapping shifts looking after the children, it was very difficult.
It took 206 days to get the call. I just kept thinking, ‘Will we ever get the call, will he be strong enough?’ Then in August 2017 at 2:30am we got the call.
Max with his Make-A-Wish badge and bag
Power of positivity
“Thankfully, the transplant was a success. Although Max will be immune-supressed for the rest of his life and that has serious implications, he’s gone from strength to strength since his transplant.
"He has many physical scars, but his positive personality has helped him. It wasn’t always easy – there were times when he couldn’t eat, he had infections, missed a year of school and even had an anaphylactic shock to one of the antibiotics.
“The play specialist put in a referral for Make-A-Wish. I thought it was only for terminally ill children, but they explained to me it was for children who have been through difficult illnesses like Max’s."
A wish come true
“Whenever we’d go into a pub, even when Max was in a pram, he was looking out for the speakers, so it wasn’t a surprise when the Wish Visitors came round and the idea of visiting a speaker factory came up.
"Max used to watch Matilda on film over and over in hospital, so that got discussed too. We couldn’t believe it when our Wishgranter Lucy told Max that both his wishes could be rolled into one. We were very grateful.”
Exploring the factory
Wishgranter Lucy arranged for Max to visit the KEF Loudspeaker factory in July 2018. The only time they ever allow visitors inside for tours is for business customers.
"It was an amazing experience – the factory was different to what I was expecting. Ron, the Head of Marketing, was our guide for the whole day and he explained how everything worked, from design to shipment of the speakers. There was a sub woofer that rattled the whole factory, and an anechoic chamber – a room where all sound is absorbed."
"After, we went in the limo to see Matilda in London, and also on the London Eye.”
How Max's wish helped
Sponsored donations made towards a child’s wish will go towards their One True Wish. If a child’s wish receives over funding the additional donations will be put towards a similar wish. If a child's wish doesn't reach 100% funding their wish will still take place and general funds will be used.