An Attitude of Gratitude - Zamirra's Magical Playground

Our commitment to altruism is entrenched in our motto: Enter to Learn, Exit to Serve. We understand that a great education brings with it a responsibility to give back. Stories of service can be found throughout the Grammar community, including that of Keri and Clayton Hardman, parents of William'22 and Sarah'25. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, they were able to help grant five-year-old Zamirra's wish of building a magical playground.

Last October, the theme for our company [the Hardman Group] retreat was, ‘Fostering an Attitude of Gratitude’. Our goal was to ignite our staff team’s positive energy and help them discover their own personal ‘attitude of gratitude’. 

We contacted Steve Foran of ‘Gratitude @ Work’ and arranged for him to facilitate our retreat. The weekend started with us thinking of the many ways we were personally fortunate and being thankful for those experiences. Then, we thought of ways to extend that thankfulness and gratitude outwards - within our families, within our workplace and within our communities. Our staff members’ shared revelations were inspiring! 

Before we concluded our final session, we had an exciting surprise for our team that we were eager to reveal. We had approached the Make A Wish Foundation (Atlantic) earlier in the year and asked them to match our company with a child whose wish we could fulfill. They chose us to fulfill the wish for Zamirra, a 5-year old girl from New Brunswick. 

Zamirra had been diagnosed with medulloblastoma, with tumours growing in her brain and on her spine, and was currently receiving treatments at the IWK. Her wish was unique in that she didn’t want anything specifically for herself; she wanted a ‘Magical Playground’ in her backyard so that she and her brothers and sisters could play together once she returned home after her final round of chemotherapy. 

Zamirra, a determined little girl with a vision of how she wanted her playground and fairy garden to look, had drawn her ideal ‘Magical Playground’ for Make-A-Wish. Through facilitation by Make-A-Wish, her design was presented to our staff team and we thought of all the ways we could add to the design and enhance her wish, sparing no detail in making this playground especially magical. And so began our journey to fulfilling Zamirra’s selfless wish. Each staff member contributed towards this project, either by purchasing supplies, building and painting the structures, delivering the finished products or assembling the playground for the unveiling of this magical playground. In less than 2 months, we coordinated with suppliers and contractors for materials and transportation. Traditionally, Make-A-Wish companies fundraise first and build second but this was no ordinary wish – time was of the essence. We built first and our fundraising efforts are ongoing. We volunteered evenings and weekends, staff members working side by side on a project who’s only goal was to bring a smile to a little girl’s face and provide some inspiration for her while she finished her treatments. The big day finally arrived and we excitedly travelled to Zamirra’s home town to assemble the structures and unveil ‘Zamirra’s Magical Playground’. Unfortunately, Zamirra was not able to be there as she needed to remain in hospital until her chemotherapy treatments were completed. Instead, she was shown her magical playground through ‘Facetime’ and one of our staff members was present with her at the hospital during the unveiling. What an incredible day for Zamirra, her family and us. Her bright, joyful smile was contagious and we were all grinning, while tears sprung at the corner of our eyes.

- Keri and Clayton Hardman

An interview with Zamirra's family on the day her wish was granted can be found online
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