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How a trip to Disneyland turned Buxton’s Owen Bowditch into a Make-A-Wish ambassador

When Buxton Brighton agent Owen Bowditch gets on stage to raise money for Make-A-Wish Australia, he’s not just speaking from the heart but experience.

Owen, who received a wish from the children’s charity, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was just 8, battling the disease for several years, before going into remission 11 years ago.

It was in 2011 when the Melbourne boy, who had been struggling with his chemotherapy treatments up until then, was granted his wish of going to Disneyland in LA with his family.

“It was truly the best week of my life, spending that week in LA with my family at Disneyland,” he says.

“Travelling away with them, we were distracted from what tore our lives apart and controlled our life.”

When he returned from Disneyland, Owen says he immediately told Make-A-Wish he wanted to become an ambassador for the charity.

Not because he felt obligated, but because of the impact the wish had on him and his life.

He says for the first month after he was diagnosed he was in hospital daily and weekly and finally monthly visits continued for several years.

“There wasn’t much enjoyment to my life so to have this week away was just amazing,” Owen explains.

“I took my tablets in the morning and my tablets at night, but other than that five minutes twice a day, I just forgot (I had cancer).

“I was like a kid in a candy store.”

Owen says prior to his wish he wasn’t responding well to treatment, of which he had a year left, but when he returned he turned the corner.

“Coming back, I responded incredibly well to treatment and that one year dropped to nine months of treatment,” he says.

Owen says he now raises funds for Make-A-Wish by speaking at charity fundraisers or various events.

He has had more than 30 speaking engagements and helped to raise millions of dollars by speaking to groups such as the Hungry Jacks board, families at a Taronga Zoo event and he even took to the podium at Moonee Valley in the lead up to the Melbourne Cup.

Buxton Brighton’s Owen Bowditch is an ambassador for Make-A-Wish Australia. Photo: Owen Bowditch

Owen says when he told his story when he was younger, people could immediately connect with him still being a child or a teenager, but now sharing his journey was more about the lasting impact his wish still has on him, even as an adult.

“When I get up to speak for Make-A-Wish it’s about, ‘How can I help? How can I tell my story and get the people in the room to relate to just one line of it?’” Owen says.

“If I can get them to relate to one line of it, then I can hope that they might donate $100 or $50.

“If I’m speaking to a crowd of 300 people and I can get everyone in that room to donate $50 then we’ve made a big difference.”

Owen says his experience had also helped him relate to his clients.

He recognises that everyone has a story and experiences in life that motivate their actions and he sees his role as an agent as one to help his clients to sell their home irrespective of the journey they are on.

“Everyday I’m reminded how lucky we are, how precious life is and that really drives me to want to be a really good person,” Owen says.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.