Today marks World Wish Day and the anniversary of the first granted wish in 1980. I was fortunate to serve as a Corporate Fundraising Intern for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois one summer. During the first month I participated in a wish at Chicago’s Union Station. The young boy getting his wish granted wanted to be a train engineer so a large group of supporters and commuters were collected to line the path to cheer on the star of the day.
What made the wish even more special was the train he drove. It was named in honor of a past wish child, Ollie Tibbles, who wanted to be an actual train. The train was named for Ollie after he passed away so, ultimately, his wish to become a train was fulfilled.
What I took away from that day, and my entire internship, was the great influence a dedicated group of people can bring about. The Make-A-Wish staff members truly love their jobs and I use the term “job” lightly. I believe it’s a way of life. I applied for the internship because I wanted to work for an organization I could look forward to being a part of each day. I can honestly say that’s the way I felt and it’s because of the environment created by the Make-A-Wish team.
How can you get involved?
· Check out these retailers supporting World Wish Day
· Volunteer for events or wish granting
· Host a Jeans for Wishes event at your office or school
o Any Chicagoans interested in attending a fashion show with designs inspired by Wish Children?
· The Make-A-Wish Foundation® is the largest wish-granting organization in the world.
· Every 25 minutes, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition. That’s more than 20,000 wishes every year. Over 250,000 wishes have been granted since 1980.
· Make-A-Wish Foundation® International (worldwish.org) serves children outside the United States while the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America (wish.org) serves children within the United States. Both are headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
· Each year, over 30,000 volunteers generously give their time, talents and energy to fulfill the Make-A-Wish® mission around the globe.
· To qualify for a wish, the child must be at least 2 1/2 years of age (3 outside of the US), but have not yet reached their 18th birthday and must not have received a wish from another wish-granting organization. A child can be referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation® by a parent or guardian, a medical professional, or by the child.