Making Wishes Come True With Yamaha
Each year the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children living with critical illnesses. These brave youngsters are no different to other children their age, so it’s not surprising that the wish for a new motocross bike is a regular one.
Yamaha Motor New Zealand has been working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and recently had the honour of helping to grant motorcycle wishes for two brave young men, Hunter Hourigan and Zac Milford. Watch the video
Organising the delivery of their wish, Sophie McGregor, Wish Producer at Make-A-Wish New Zealand, revealed that it was a special moment to see the boy’s wishes granted. “It was wonderful to be involved with Yamaha in making the wishes of Zac and Hunter come true,” she said. “Both boys have been through so much, so it meant a lot to be able to see the joy that these bikes brought - not only to their lives, but their families as well.”
Charged with coordinating the delivery of these two important wishes, Yamaha Motor New Zealand Digital Brand Manager Dinesh Chhagn said Yamaha New Zealand wanted its involvement with Make-A-Wish to extend much further than simply assisting with providing a motorcycle. “Taking delivery of a new Yamaha motorbike should be a truly memorable experience, even more so for the Make-A-Wish kids,” he said. “So we put together a Yamaha-exclusive event that provided a unique and memorable event.”
Pete Dick, Yamaha’s Group Product Marketing Manager in New Zealand said the first task was to get Hunter and Zac onto the right bike, one that suited their skill level and the type of rising they wanted to do. “We find that the kids often wish for a big and powerful bike like the YZ450F,” laughed Pete. “I mean what boy doesn’t want one of those bad boys, but a top-of-the-range 450cc motocross bike is not always the best fit.”
Putting to good use the association the YMNZ team has with Josh Coppins Racing (JCR), Dinesh and Pete organised for the first step in Zac and Hunter’s wish journey to be a phone call from the Kiwi Motocross legend himself. “I was brought into this program to help fulfil the motocross dreams for some of these kids,” Josh Coppins revealed. “I have a quick chat with them and work out what bike will suit them best. Then we organise a coaching day on the track they can familiarise themselves with their new bike and I can offer some coaching. it’s up to them what they want to achieve on the day.”
Following their discussions with Josh Coppins, Zac Milford had a sparkling new YZ125 motocross bike headed his way, while Hunter Hourigan was set to be aboard a YZ250FX enduro machine.
The second step in the wish journey was to introduce the families to their local Yamaha dealer so they could look after the handover and set up a maintenance program to ensure the new machines would be well looked after. For young Zac, his local Yamaha dealer is Motoland Napier, located in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand’s North Island. Dealership owner Anthony Ham was just as excited as young Zac to be involved with the program. “At Motoland we are proud to be part of a great cause,” he said. “Doing things for kids like Zac and making their dreams and wishes come true is an awesome feeling.”
With the boys kitted up in all the right riding gear – thanks to distributor Ficeda Accessories – the two families headed to a private track for a full day of coaching from Josh Coppins, and to commence the next part of their life journey as a member of the bLU cRU family. “To be part of the Wish journey has a really good feeling about it,” Josh Coppins revealed. “There is a lot going on in the world and a lot going in their life so to be able to give back and put a smile on their face is great. It means a lot for not only Yamaha as a brand but also for me personally. We get to do a lot of cool things with the bLU cRU brand, but this is right up there.”
For Hunter’s dad Dennis, the day provided a high point in what he described as a big emotional roller coaster. “You just need to stick at it, stick together and take one day at a time,” he said. Those feelings were shared by Zac’s father, Shane. “It has not been an easy journey, and we are blessed to still have our son,” he said. “Now, not even six months after he finished his last chemo, here he is, out living life.”
Make-A-Wish relies on donations and volunteers to be able to grant life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. Visit the Make-A Wish web page if you would like to make a donation, or to obtain more information about becoming a Make-A-Wish volunteer.