Taking strides for children’s lives.
We all wish upon stars hoping our dreams come true some day. However, for a special group of children with life-threatening medical conditions, dreams are coming true, thanks to a dedicated group of teens, friends, families and a caring community. Currently, over $200,000 has been raised to grant these kids their wishes.
I had the opportunity to experience some incredible moments as our community came together at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine for the 4th Annual Orange County Walk For Wishes. Powered by smiles and feelings of strength and support, over 1,800 attendees took part in a fun walk and world of wishes festival in support of Make-A-Wish. The World of Wishes festival is an amazing, exciting and emotional event. I had the chance to speak with a father of an 8-year-old boy who lives with a life-threatening heart condition. He spoke with deep emotion as he told me about his family and how he has now become a Speech Ambassador for Make-A-Wish.
Referred by his heart surgeon to the Make-A-Wish organization, his young son was granted his wish to venture to Disneyland overseas in Hong Kong. However, what really amazed me was this young child’s wish behind the wish: to be his dad by travelling to China on business trips. Eight-year-old Jason, his twin brother and family enjoyed nine days in China, and in dad’s words, “It was a dream come true.”
Wishes are granted to children between the ages of 2.5 and 18 who are medically eligible and have been diagnosed with a progressive, degenerative or malignant condition that has placed the child’s life in danger. The wish to HAVE, the wish to BE, the wish to GO and the wish to MEET: these four wishes were the theme of the festivities. These types of wishes have been granted to more than 240,000 children since 1980 to enrich their life experiences with hope, strength and joy. Nothing but smiles, hugs, amazing performances and the opportunity to experience the magic of the four types of wishes were present at this event.
“We want to sincerely thank everyone that came out to the walk today,” said Stephanie McCormick, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire.“With the support of the local community, we have been able to grant more than 4,750 wishes in Orange County and the Inland Empire since our inception in 1983.”
The event itself was a “wish come true” with firemen, policemen, princesses, superheros and Star Trekkers lending a hand to support these special wishes. Over 80 percent of the yearly revenue for Make-A-Wish comes from individual, corporate and community donations. Donating, fundraising or volunteering your time to the Make-A-Wish organization can help grant a child with a life-threatening medical condition a special wish—and for some of these children—it will heartbreakingly be the last wish they will ever see come true.
For more info please visit OCIE.WISH.ORG
By Bridget Levenstein