2014-02-06 / News

Celebrating 30 years of Mich. Make-a-Wish

Program continues with help of volunteers

BRIGHTON – This year Make- A-Wish Michigan celebrates its 30th birthday – a special celebration of three decades of wish granting in Michigan and an opportunity to honor donors, volunteers and other supporters who have helped to share the power of a wish.

Make-A-Wish Michigan granted its first wish 30 years ago on Jan. 30, 1984, to 11-year-old Joshua from Tecumseh, who had a malignant brain tumor and wished to visit Walt Disney World Resort.

Two years prior, Joshua’s family had moved to Michigan, and he became ill a short time later. At first, his family thought it was the flu, until he lost his balance one morning walking down the steps. It was then the doctors discovered the tumor. He underwent three surgical operations, chemotherapy and radiation treatment before his wish was fulfilled.

Joshua’s mom had heard of Make-A-Wish through her family in Nevada, and contacted the month-old local chapter, Make- A-Wish Michigan, which was headquartered in Traverse City at the time.

“Just really, to say thank you … it’s not really enough,” Joshua’s mom, Carol, told a local newspaper at the time of his wish.

That first year, Make-A-Wish Michigan granted 15 wishes. Since then the organization has granted more than 7,500 wishes to Michigan kids, providing great hope, strength and joy in the midst of their serious medical challenges. In the chapter’s 30th year, the goal is to reach more than 400 kids throughout the entire state of Michigan – that’s a little more than one wish per day.

“We are so excited to celebrate 30 years of wish granting in Michigan,” said Karen Davis, Make-A-Wish Michigan president and CEO. “From the moment a child begins anticipating a wish, through the cherished memories created during the wish, the experience creates unforgettable moments for the child and family. Throughout 2014, we look forward to sharing inspiring stories of our wish kids from throughout the decades and the vital role the wish experience played in their lives as they battled their medical challenges.”

In fact, the wish experience has been proven to strengthen families and impact wish kids’ physical and emotional well being. A Make-AWish America Impact study found that:

• A combined 89 percent of doctors, nurses and health professionals surveyed say they believe a wish experience can influence wish kids’ physical health.

• 96 percent of parents said the wish experience strengthened their families.

• 97 percent of wish families observe increases in their wish kids’ emotional health.

Their 30th birthday will be celebrated throughout 2014 with signature events, including Wish Ball, Walk for Wishes, and the Wish-A-Mile Bicycle Tour - as well as other special events and activities that will highlight wish kids and honor those whose deep commitment to our mission has been key to our ability to create life-changing moments for so many Michigan families.

Thirty years of wish granting in Michigan would not be possible without the passion, generosity and unrelenting support of donors, volunteers, medical professionals and others who have helped make heartfelt wishes come true for thousands of children in all 83 counties in Michigan. Help Make- A-Wish Michigan grant wishes for another 30 years by visiting michigan.wish.org or calling (800) 622-9474.

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