About 10 years ago I was asked to join the Make-A-Wish Arizona board of directors by the then chairman of the board. I was especially flattered by the invitation because the chairman and I didn’t know each other personally at the time. My children were very young then, I was already anchoring all the evening newscasts and I sat on two boards. I had more than I could handle so I politely declined, but always carried a soft spot in my heart for the organization and the amazing work they do.
Did you know Arizona is the founding chapter of Make-A-Wish? This now internationally known organization began right here in our own backyard 35 years ago with one boy’s wish to be a police officer. Since then, Make-A-Wish Arizona has granted almost 5,000 wishes.
So far this fiscal year, Make-A-Wish Arizona has granted nearly 350 wishes to special children in Arizona. These are children with a life-threatening illness who are likely dealing with prolonged hospital stays, and daily medical procedures and treatments many of us probably can’t even imagine. The future is sometimes uncertain and the journey takes an unimaginable toll on the child and the child’s family. I learned that first hand 17 years ago, when I followed a family through their 5-year-old daughter’s battle with leukemia. They went through an agonizing year of ups and downs and emotions I can’t even begin to describe. I don’t know if the family ever considered Make-A-Wish but I wonder what their journey might have been like for all of them if Ashley had been granted a wish she could focus on; that little glimmer of hope and happiness the family could hold on to during their toughest of times.
That’s what Make-A-Wish Arizona does for children like 12-year-old Anna. She’s been courageously battling lymphoid leukemia. The rigorous treatment and hospital stays leave her feeling wiped out and separated from the life every 12-year-old should get to experience. Her wish was to take a trip to Disneyland; exploring the park, swimming at the hotel pool, ordering room service and playing at the beach. She wanted to simply have a week of fun – away from treatments and medical procedures.
I’m honored to be in a position to help create those life-changing experiences for children like Anna. A decade after I was approached about joining, I’m proud to have just been elected as a member of the Make-A-Wish Arizona Board of Directors – a hard-working and passionate group working to raise as much money as possible to grant as many wishes every year until we are able to grant the wish of every eligible child in Arizona.
With your help, we will achieve that goal. No child is ever turned away and with your help, no child will ever have to wait for a wish either.
The wish experience is about lifting kids with life-threatening medical conditions beyond their day-to-day treatment regimes and giving them the opportunity to live the extraordinary.
Please help us continue granting wishes to help Arizona children renew their courage and find a turning point in their lives. You can support Make-A-Wish Arizona and me by volunteering, starting a team or joining my team at the October 4 Walk for Wishes presented by CheapCaribbean.com. You can also donate directly to my team here.