The late conservationist and television personality Steve Irwin, known as “The Crocodile Hunter,” continues to inspire audiences around the world – including 17-year-old animal lover, Sarah.
Sarah was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of two, and spent many weeks on bedrest. Over the years, during her most difficult times or when her spirits were down, watching “The Crocodile Hunter”– Irwin’s weekly television series about wildlife – filled her with happiness and strength and he became her favorite personality. When she had the chance to turn her wish into reality, Sarah chose to go to the Australia Zoo, also known as the Steve Irwin Zoo, and be immersed in the world of animals.
Thanks to the efforts of Make-A-Wish staff and volunteers, Sarah and her family spent a week in Brisbane, Australia on a magical adventure. According to Sarah, it was “a once-in-a-lifetime dream come true. It was my passion, and everything I wanted it to be.” At the zoo, Sarah experienced first-hand the job of a zookeeper. She got “hands on” with many different animals, including a koala bear, a red panda, wombats, tigers, various species of nonvenomous snakes, and over 40 different species of beautifully-colored tropical birds in the Australian Bird Aviary. She also had the honor of feeding Australia’s renowned “big-red” kangaroos.
However, Sarah did much more than just petting and feeding. She was invited behind the scenes to observe and participate in a surgery at the animal hospital, and she attended a number of animal performances, including the crocodile and tiger shows. All these experiences at the zoo, combined with a Dolphin Adventure Day tour and a Desert Safari tour, exposed Sarah and her family to all the wondrous animals and environments Australia had to offer.
Commenting on the excitement and scale of the trip, Sarah’s Mom said, “Sarah got to see how big the world really is. This trip gave her the fire to pursue her passion. The experience really pushed her to continue with her dreams. Make-A-Wish made something impossible become possible.”