Robert’s Wish was founded by Lisa Hunter in 2015 while she was living in Chicago, US. The organisation is named after a close childhood friend of Lisa’s. Robert lived in South Africa, was an up and coming accountant and just a genuinely lovely person. Robert was a kind and loving young man who, after years of hiding his true self, came out to his family and the world. He was 35 years old. Unfortunately, as a result of this, his family and close friends turned their backs and disowned him – the very people who were supposed to embrace him for being his true self and be his support system were afraid of accepting him as his true self. The isolation that ensued challenged his career and his daily life was made almost impossible with the bullying and taunting.
He felt so alone and with nowhere to turn, he felt desperate. The lack of accessible resources and support available to him and no community that he could turn to who would understand his struggle and offer advice allowing him to feel less alone led him to seek some comfort via YouTube. He discovered The Fosters, a US Drama series. The Fosters premiered in the US in 2013 and ran until 2018. It follows the lives of the members of the Foster family led by lesbian couple Stef (Teri Polo), a police officer, and Lena (Sherri Saum), a school vice principal, who raise one biological and four adopted teenagers in San Diego, California.
Through this powerful, relevant and beautifully portrayed messages from this series, Robert found some comfort, understanding and in some way, support. He also found a community through the strong fan base of the show.
Robert began to regain his confidence and belief in himself. He began to feel a little less alone. This was short lived, and due to the lack of support, understanding and feeling more and more alone, Robert took his own life to end his pain.
Robert’s story is not a unique one and is far too frequent today. There are many “Roberts” out there. One of his last wishes was for there to be a platform to provide the resources needed, to be there for people who feel alone and to lend a listening ear.
Robert’s Wish idea was born. It has evolved a lot over the last 5 years. There have been many kind people who have helped, supported and championed the mission and purpose of what Robert’s Wish stands for and who are a part of the foundations of the community as it stands today.