Chyma in Grade 7Ever since she could talk, Chyma's dreamt of modelling. She has been an avid follower of fashion for as long as she can remember. Now 17, Chyma is one step closer to her life-long dream.

Thanks to our Official Wishgranting Partner Virgin Australia, Chyma was given the VIP experience at The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival as part of her unforgettable fashion-inspired Starlight Wish.

It has been a long and difficult road for the teenager from Mount Isa who has battled serious illness since she was young.

When Chyma was 14, doctors diagnosed the rare autoimmune disease Rheumatic Fever with Hyper Mobility Syndrome and Lupus diagnosis to follow.

Chyma in hospitalHer stepmum Tina said they felt relieved to finally have a diagnosis.

"Chyma had been ill for so long - finally we had some answers and could do something to help her," Tina said.

Since Chyma's diagnosis, every aspect of family life changed.

Chyma has four brothers and three sisters, and with both Tina and dad Mika working, the impact of juggling cardiologist appointments, ongoing check-ups, Rheumatic clinics and regular injections was immense.

"We both work full-time in mining so had to adjust our schedules and take time off work while Chyma was in hospital. The first year of treatment was a whirl wind with countless sleepless nights," Tina recalls.

Chyna in hospital

Over the following two years they became 'regulars' at Mount Isa Hospital.

Despite all she's been through, Chyma has stayed incredibly positive.

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Chyma is caring, loving, outgoing and bubbly. She's fun to be around and can make you smile even on the worst of days. Chyma would take the shirt off her back to help someone else out.
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Chyma's stepmum, Tina

When she found out she'd been granted a Starlight Wish, Chyma's first thought was how to include her whole family. Tina said her Chyma took some convincing to decide on something special for herself!

"It was definitely an unexpected surprise and one that made her smile a lot bigger than we had seen in a very long time."

After a few weeks thinking it over, Chyma chose a fashion-filled experience fit for the runway!

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Chyma's missed out on so much because of her illness and her modelling dreams had to be pushed back. Now her Starlight Wish has given her this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue her greatest passion.
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Chyma's stepmum, Tina

Virgin Australia stepped in to make her wish nothing short of unforgettable not only arranging for Chyma to attend the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) but added some incredible fashion-inspired surprises along the way.

Arriving in the Virgin Australia Lounge at Brisbane Airport en-route to Melbourne, Chyma was surprised with a model mentoring session from industry experts Mariana Gujas, Tegan Martin and Tess Alexander.

Chyma with models Mariana Gujas, Tegan Martin and Tess Alexander

Under the guidance of the professional models, Chyma mastered the red carpet walk and posed for the media wall! She also got all the insider tips on networking and preparing for auditions.

Virgin Australia also surprised her with the invitation to star in her own Virgin Australia photo shoot which will help build her future modelling portfolio.

Chyma posing with models Mariana Gujas, Tegan Martin and Tess Alexander

Once in Melbourne, the VIP experience continued with a limo ride, professional hair and make-up and front row tickets to the runway show at VAMFF.

Chyma with Virgin Australia at VAMFF

Chyma sitting front row at VAMFF

Chyma enjoyed an exclusive behind the scenes tour and met with Thurley founder and designer Helen O'Connor.

Chyma with Thurley founder and designer Helen O'Connor

She also received a special video message from iconic fashionista Elle Ferguson. A wish highlight for sure!

A passionate advocate for diversity in the industry particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teens, Chyma rounded off her trip spending time with agency Jira which proudly represents First Peoples of Australia in the modelling world.

Chyma's Starlight Wish will help bring her closer to her dream and she was inspired by the energy and support of everyone she met.

Her dad said the experience was humbling and they were so thankful to everyone involved in bringing Chyma's wish to life.

Chyma and parents

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Coming from Mount Isa, Chyma's Starlight Wish is something she never thought possible. For a child to have something to look forward to and something to remember and look back on is amazing. Thank you for putting a smile on our daughter's face.
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Chyma's stepmum, Tina
Stories like these are only made possible thanks to our generous supporters. If you'd like to help make a difference for a child, you can donate below.
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