GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — April 29 is World Wish Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the mission of the Make-A-Wish organization.
“The original mission and drive to change these children’s lives and give them hope and focus and the power of possibilities when they need it most, remains the same today,” said Karen Davis, the CEO of Make-A-Wish Michigan.
The date represents the first wish ever granted back in 1980 to a little boy from Arizona named Chris Greicius. His wish was to be a police officer for a day and after seeing what the community did for him and how it impacted him his mom started Make-A-Wish.
Since 1980, the organization has grown, spreading across the world. Last year, Make-A-Wish Michigan granted its 10,000th wish.
“I think now more than ever hope is essential and it’s important in all of us in our community with everything that is going on to have hope and to draw strength from each other and that is what the make a wish mission is all about,” David said.
Like almost every other nonprofit out there Make-A-Wish Michigan had a wrench thrown into how they operate.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been significant on Make-A-Wish Michigan, and immediate. We have had 150 wishes postponed. We have halted all domestic and international travel as the health and safety of our wish kids is our first priority,” said Davis.
Fifty of those 150 wishes that have been halted were kids from West Michigan.
“These life-threatening diagnoses are happening every day. Our kids are in need,” Davis said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted how they fund raise. Typically for the organization spring and summer make up a balk of their fundraising efforts.
“You can make a difference every single dollar matters to our missing and to our wish kids. As soon as we can resume travel, we have more kids waiting than ever before now.”
It is not just their own fundraising they are missing out on but the fundraising they normally get from partners across Michigan like schools and universities.
“We have a many tremendous individuals that do fundraising on behalf of Make-A-Wish, could be bowling, car washes a whole host of activities and those are not happening right now,” said Davis.
In the meantime, Make-A-Wish Michigan will continue on with its mission of helping kids with critical illnesses.
“It is a challenging time and we are committed to making these wishes come true being here as a resource of hope and strength for these families. But now more than ever the community support donations large and small, truly all come together to make a big difference for our kids,” Davis said.
There are ways you can help, Make-A-Wish Michigan is always looking for volunteers and you can still sign up during this time.
Money also always helps but if you want to do something from our own home you can. Make-A-Wish is asking people to record messages of hope to the kids waiting for their wishes.
Record yourself or you and your family letting the kids know you are thinking of them and then upload it to your social media using the hashtag #WishesAreWaiting.