At the age of just 10 years old Sterling Rodda has had to start ticking items off his bucket list.
The St Nicholas student, and his younger twin brothers are three of only an estimated 50 Australians diagnosed with the extremely rare Wolfram syndrome.
The main symptoms of the syndrome are diabetes, blindness and deafness to name a few, while life expectancy is under 30 years of age.
Sterling’s vision has already started to deteriorate, and may be completely gone within 18 months, which is why, albeit reluctantly, his parents, Tamworth councillor Mark and his wife Julie, have allowed Sterling’s Wishlist to be released publicly, and some fundraising events organised.
The list contains 20 items including Seeing the Great Barrier Reef and Hawaii, swimming with dolphins and turtles, playing with penguins, seeing snow, going to Uluru and even things like going in a plane, and down a mine shaft.
Two weeks ago the Kyle and Jackie O radio show chipped in, shouting the family of eight a trip to the Gold Coast, including tickets to the big four theme parks, including swimming with dolphins, and now the Tamworth community are looking to send the family to Hawaii.
“Julie and I have been very reluctant, but we know that on our own we won’t be able to give Sterling the experiences he would like before his vision goes,” Mr Rodda said.
“We are very mindful of the fact that a lot of people haven’t done these things, but when he does go blind at least he will be able to remember the experiences, and the colours.
“I think anyone with kids would understand what a parent might go through, and empathise with us the sadness and disappointment that our kids won’t get to experience life to the fullest – although no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.”
A committee of locals with big hearts, including Kylie Wilson, finally got the family to release the wish list and accept some help, and just days later a huge raffle had been organised with local businesses chipping in for prizes.
A ball at St Nic’s has now also been organised for November, with tickets to go on sale October 15, while raffle tickets are available to buy at numerous businesses all over town.
“We would love to be able to send the family to Hawaii because that could tick four things off the wish list,” Ms Wilson said.
“Everyone wants to help – we already have ten items to auction at the ball, and we are also looking at the idea of sponsoring individual family members for the trip.
“I have told them to get passports organised because we are going to make it happen.”