I Am A Wish Granter

If you were in Times Square yesterday, you might have seen this video on the Thomson Reuter’s electronic billboard.

If you’ve already watched this video, you might already know what I have in common with Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Buddy Valastro, Jon Stewart, Nigel Barker and Tiffani Thiessen.

If you don’t know who those celebrities are or what I possibly have in common with them, you better watch this video.

Yesterday, April 29, was World Wish Day®, a global celebration of wish granting, honoring Chris, the seven year old boy who inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish® when his wish to become a police office was granted on April 29, 1980.

In the 32 years since, Make-A-Wish® has granted more than 280,000 wishes around the world, with a wish granted nearly every 23 minutes. Make-A-Wish® seeks to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy

I became a wish granter in college after hearing a wish child speak about her 1988 wish to meet and dance with Michael Jackson.  Tiffany founded Student Wishmakers at Cornell in 1993 and in 2000, was the first wish child elected to the Make-A-Wish® National Board of Directors.  I remember hearing Tiffany say that she knew if she could spark an interest in Make A Wish® in a college student, she might “pique a lifelong commitment to the organization.” I’ve now been a wish granter for over 15 years in 3 states, and I can’t possibly imagine the cumulative commitment wish “kids” like Tiffany have sparked in donors and volunteers over the years.

In what I have long-considered the best volunteer opportunity in America, I feel lucky to have witnessed the power of a wish and the joy wishes brings to wish kids and their families – for Jessica who met Katy Perry this fall, for David who went to Superbowl XLVI, for Brianna who went to Disney — twice, actually, since her sister Alanna was eligible for a wish too.  To hear the impact firsthand from a wish recipient, click here to meet Jamie and hear about her wish trip to Atlantis.

Jamie spoke with tremendous poise at Make-A-Wish® Connecticut’s Evening of Wishes Gala last weekend, sharing with us her desire to “pay” her wish “forward,” which she did LIVE as she introduced Chandler, a four-year old cancer patient she met while in the hospital for her own treatment.

Photo by Kat Loughery Photography

The lights dimmed and Tinker Bell flitted through the ballroom and introduced herself.

“I am Tinker Bell, the fairiest of all the fairies. And you are Chandler, the fairiest of all the Chandlers.”

Tink then guided the hundreds of Gala attendees to wave their wands (Make A Wish® Connecticut had left them at our seats) to grant Chandler’s wish to go to the happiest place on earth (Disney World).  The room filled with blinking, waving wands, and blinking, crying eyes, as the evening’s guest Chef Robert Irvine of Restaurant Impossible escorted Chandler to the limo that would whisk her to the airport.

As if that wasn’t sweet enough, I then got to enjoy Chef Irvine’s dessert trio: spiced cotton candy, chocolate covered caramel and a caramel drizzled apple.

Make A Wish® changes lives. It certainly has inspired mine.

To learn how you can make wishes come true by donating (airline miles always needed) or volunteering,         contact Make A Wish Connecticut  or your local chapter.

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