Amazing Florida ‘wish’ trip for Harvey

Harvey Hopkin with dolphin Kai and friend Danny Ackley.
Harvey Hopkin with dolphin Kai and friend Danny Ackley.
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A SERIOUSLY ill Welney boy has had the trip of a lifetime thanks to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Seven-year-old Harvey Hopkin got to swim with dolphins in Florida after his top wish was granted by Starlight.

Harvey Hopkin swimming with dolphins in Florida.

Harvey Hopkin swimming with dolphins in Florida.

Accompanied by mum Karen and Karen’s friend Danny Ackley, they enjoyed a magical seven days at Discovery Cove where, in addition to swimming with dolphin Kai, Harvey got to go snorkelling, visit Seaworld and have fun at water park Aquatica.

It is a trip Karen thought they would never be able to take as Harvey has kidney failure and non-functioning adrenal glands.

He was born healthy but became dehydrated in hospital which caused a blood clot to develop in his kidney and move to his heart. At just days old, Harvey suffered a stroke and had a haemorrhage in his adrenal glands.

“It was absolutely the worst time of my life,” Karen said. “He was five weeks in intensive care at Great Ormond Street and it seemed like an eternity. We didn’t know if he was going to make it.”

She praised the care he received at the famous London hospital and said Starlight were also brilliant when it came to organising the holiday.

Everything was paid for, including expenses, and they went the extra mile to make sure Harvey was taken care of, such as getting a fridge in their hotel room for his medications.

Travel insurance was also provided, a common hurdle when taking an ill child abroad. Karen had previously investigated taking Harvey to Disneyland but was put off by the £1,000 quote for insurance.

They were also helped by local man Dan Gould, who ran a marathon around Grafham Water and raised £2,000 to help with the holiday.

The Florida trip is not the only wish Harvey has been lucky enough to have granted by Starlight. Before Christmas, he was invited to a Christmas party at 11 Downing Street where he met the current Doctor Who, Matt Smith.

It was an exciting encounter for Harvey, who is an avid Doctor Who fan, but Karen said he was not as keen to meet Geri Halliwell who “grabbed him for a picture”. His remaining wish is to meet Spiderman.