The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of youngsters--aged three to 18 years old--who are afflicted with life-threatening conditions. Last weekend, eight-year-old Raineer Allen Malate, who is battling Stage 3 osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and whose right leg has already been amputated, had his very simple wish granted. All he wanted was to see the sports cars that he often read about in magazines up close and personal, but he got so much more than that.
The message from the foundation's Baguio City Chapter to local racer Carlos Anton and his wife Karen asking car enthusiasts to congregate in the old theater parking lot in John Hay on a Sunday morning, spread like wildfire. (TopGear.com.ph also announced it here.) Attendance wasn't limited to car guys. Even folks who just wanted to give Raineer gifts like toy cars arrived to show support as well.
Roughly 30 cars and their owners were in attendance. It was an eclectic mix of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, Subaru Impreza WRX STIs, and old-school Japanese rides. As an added surprise, Raineer was also treated to rides in some very nice cars, including a Porsche 996 Turbo S, a Mini Cooper S, a VW dune buggy and a bona fide hill-climb race car.
"We didn’t expect this," said Annette Malate, Raineer's mother. "We were told that we would just go out. Nagulat na lang kami. From the start, Raineer has always liked cars. We have Top Gear at home. When he sees cars in magazines, he becomes interested. He loves red sports cars."
"We coordinate with doctors, hospitals, hospices and halfway houses to look for these kids," said Vixienne Calulut of Make-A-Wish Foundation Baguio City. "If they qualify, we interview and interact with them, but we don't tell them or their families that we are from Make-A-Wish. We then find a way to make their dreams come true. We weren't expecting this many cars to show up!"
Top Gear Philippines reader Ian RJ Reyes went to the event and has this to share: "When I heard about the event, I knew that Raineer definitely needed some cheers and whatever else to make him stronger. Thankfully, I found my toy car that had made me happy when I was a kid, as I wanted to give it to little Raineer to make him happy, too. My toy car is a white Volkswagen Beetle that I've had since I was about eight years old. I recovered it with its box almost unrecognizable due to dust. While I was cleaning it and pretending to be some professional detailer, I had Raineer in mind. I was sure that he would be happy with this toy as much as I was before, despite all of the latest toys and electronics nowadays. Before I handed Raineer my toy car, I quickly wrote a note and pasted it on the roof. I introduced it as 'Smiley the VW Beetle'. Because the face of the Beetle always has a smile, it will remind Raineer about how special he is, and to smile so that the world will smile back at him. I forgot about the stress and problems I'd had the night before at the office. The event was a celebration of life. I do hope that it will be a continuation of Raineer's healing as he rides in the fast lane to recovery."
Raineer's treatment is currently ongoing. If you would like to offer support, you may contact his mother Annette at (0920) 788-8993.
Photos by Paulo Rafael Subido