Thomas playing basketballThe NBA may have a future star in 12-year-old Thomas from Melbourne. The scouts and sports-loving, outgoing boy is especially passionate about basketball. His dream is to play professionally when he grows up.

Until earlier this year, you'd find him pounding the basketball courts twice a week with his team mates.

Sadly, his passion came to a sudden halt when he was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma.

Thom woke up one morning with a lump on his neck.

He was happy and well, but the lump grew over a couple of days.

Tests ultimately revealed the tragic diagnosis. In that moment, every aspect of life changed.

Mum Kirsty said her family felt scared and helpless. "The diagnosis turned our world on its head. Thom was admitted to hospital and stayed for the next three months."

Thomas sleeping

It was heartbreaking for the close knit family of five as they tried to adjust to their new life. Kirsty and dad Dean alternated nights in the hospital to be with Thom while the other looked after Thom's two older sisters, Nicola (14-years old) and Jessica (17-years old).

Thom endured gruelling rounds of treatment and missed his friends and his beloved sport.

Thomas in hospitalThankfully, Starlight was there helping him cope with the pain and sadness of hospital. When he was well enough, Thom would visit the Starlight Express Room to take a break and have some fun.

When Thom was too sick to leave his ward, Captain Starlight brought the fun to him. Kirsty said these visits lifted Thom's mood and always "lightened our days."

While Thom battled his illness, he received the exciting news that he had been granted a Starlight Wish.

It marked a turning point for the family after the anguish of the long months in hospital.

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During the second round of chemo, Thom was at a pretty low point and in a lot of pain. The anticipation and planning of his Starlight Wish gave him something positive to focus on and look forward to.
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Kirsty, Thomas' mum

Unsurprisingly, Thom's Starlight Wish was all about basketball!

In the lead up to his wish, Thom was busy preparing and even got back into training.

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His wish is one more step forward from the illness towards normality again. Thank you for helping Starlight do their amazing work.
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Kirsty, Thomas' mum

Thom's Starlight Wish started with a special behind the scenes training session with Melbourne United complete with his very own team kit. He was over the moon to meet the players, especially his all-time hero Chris Goulding.

Thomas on his Starlight Wish

Chris took him through his paces and was kept on his toes as Thom won the sprint challenge!

Thom and Chris

On game day, Thom and his family had VIP court-side seats to be up close to the action as Melbourne United took on the Cairns Taipans. Thom also enjoyed a rare back-of-house tour and the opportunity to listen in on the half-time talk from the coach.

Thom and family

Ahead of the game, Thom signed Chris' basketball shoes, which clearly brought the team luck as they won 87-80 in a nail-biting final minute!

You couldn't wipe the smile off Thom’s face as Chris gave him the winning shoes at the end of the game.

Thom and Chris

Thom's dad Dean said It's hard to put into words what his wish means.

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It's hard to put into words what his wish means. "Basketball is Thom's life so his Starlight Wish to meet his basketball heroes has been fantastic. It was such a highlight for him after all he's been through over so many months.
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Dean, Thomas' dad

And Thom had the final words with a very big court-side shout out: "Thank you Starlight!"

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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