Poland: Making a Wish - and getting a dinosaur park!
John 'Jack' Horner is a famous American paleontologist who served as the technical advisor for all of the 'Jurassic Park' films. He discovered and named the 'Maiasaura', providing the first clear evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their young. Professor Horner has just paid a visit to Poland and in so doing fulfilled a wish for a Polish boy suffering from Leukemia. Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio's External Service explains..
Professor Horner came here at the invitation of the ‘Mam Marzenie’ or ‘Make a Wish’ Foundation, a nationwide charity which grants wishes to the children in life-threatening conditions. A 15 year-old diagnosed with cancer wanted to get a special blessing from the pope. Some children in the terminal stage of cancer dream of having a laptop. A sports enthusiast wished to be taken to Madrid and see a game by his favourite team Real Madrid. The dream of seven year-old Kuba, now in a Katowice hospital, suffering from leukemia, fell into the ‘I want to meet...’ category. And the person he wanted to meet was Professor Horner, a man who knows everything about dinosaurs. Kuba knows a lot about them too.
‘Boys of seven that know about dinosaurs know an awful lot more about dinosaurs than most grown-ups do. They easily can talk to a scientist and we actually talked about some pretty technical tuff. He had questions about why things in his books were different from one book to another. I had to explain to him that some artists are pretty good and actually look at the fossils before they make the drawings and some don’t. He knows all about the dinosaurs.’
The Foundation ‘Make a Wish’ was founded in Poland four years ago by Piotr Piwowarczyk. He returned to Poland after spending many years in the United States where he was a volunteer for such a foundation.
‘We have seen many times over that when the child has a wish granted it gives the child hope and there’s nothing more important in anybody’s life than hope. The Professor’s visit to Poland and his meeting with Kuba is proof that this mission works.’
The conversation with Professor Horner certainly gave seven-year-old Kuba much hope. He is currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant. Professor Horner promised he’d come to see him again.
‘I definitely will be back because as I promised Kuba we are going to build a dinosaur museum somewhere here, probably near Katowice. I have to come back. We decided together than since there is no real dinosaur museum in this country it would be nice to have one.’
Kuba is one of several hundred Polish children who’ve had the chance to forget, if only for a short while, about their disease thanks to the Foundation. It now has 15 regional branches in Poland and about four hundred volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to the welfare of the sick children.