Article by Kim Heron, of the Make A Wish Foundation of BC and Yukon.
Jenna was just eleven and a half years old when she suffered a severe bleed near her brain stem and almost lost her life. Hockey was familiar and something she enjoyed watching with her family. Recovery was difficult, but four years later, she was finally ready for her wish: to see a Stanley Cup play-off game live in Pittsburgh!
“After having the bleed on my cerebellum, I had to re-learn everything. Having this wish come true made me feel more confident and helped me with my self-esteem. This trip allowed me to feel happy and gave me and my family a lifetime of memories to cherish. The best part of the wish was that I shared it with my whole family. Watching the game and being in the atmosphere of an original hockey arena during a playoff game was amazing.”
29 Years and 1500 Wishes
Back in 1983, when Make A Wish first came to British Columbia from Phoenix Arizona, few could have imagined that 29 years and 1,500 wishes later, the foundation would still be granting over 100 very special wishes, to BC kids like Jenna, each and every year.
While it’s nice to chalk up an impressive milestone of 1,500 joyous wishes, what we’re really celebrating is hope. Wish kids and their families need hope for a better future as they endure the inherent stress and anxiety that having a life-threatening medical condition entails. They need a break.
21 year old Kayte was 17 when doctors removed a tumor the size of a soccer ball from her abdomen. On one of her darkest days during cancer treatment, she found out that her wish to visit New York City would be granted. Instantly, her world was filled with hope.
“Recovery is a very dark process and when you are so sick, it is a grueling task,” remarked Kayte. “Before my wish I did not think I had a future. I did not know if I was going to die or if I was ever going to truly live. Make-A-Wish changed that for me. The team at Make-A-Wish personalized my trip perfectly and gave me hope for a future again.”
Make A Wish is Going Strong
What does it take for Make A Wish to still be going strong as an organization 1,500 wishes later? It takes people understanding and embracing the mission to deliver hope, strength and joy to families when they need it most. It takes financial commitment by both long-term and new donors. It takes the unending dedication of an army of volunteer wish grantors, volunteer board members and a small, but dedicated staff who simply want to make a difference in the life of a sick child.
We do it, not only because we can, but because we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact of a wish. Not just on the child or their family, but entire communities who want to see something good come from something bad.
For more information on the Make A Wish Foundation of BC, including how you can refer a child or make a donation, please visit us online.