A visit from the ‘Wish Man’Written by Julie Rubini | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When Craig Hollopeter visits a family that is to receive a wish through Make-A-Wish, he empathizes with their uncertainty, their gratitude and their pride, which often needs to be worked through to accept such gifts.
Craig and his former wife were in their early 20s when their daughter, Kristin, was born. At 8 months, she was diagnosed with Hurlers Syndrome, a genetic disorder. They were told their child would suffer from a variety of physical deformities and not live past 6 or 7.
Kristin was a blessing in their lives, always had a smile on her face and beat the odds by living to the age of 11½.
The Make-A-Wish granter arrived on Craig’s doorstep when Kristin was 6 ½. As the team attempted to figure out what might be best, the television played in the background. As the voice of “The Price is Right” announced, “Come on down,” Kristin smiled.
The Craigs were flown to California to meet Bob Barker. Kristin received a big hug from the game show host legend.
Soon after, Craig signed up to be a wish granter. He’s remained one since and has even served on the board.
According to Kimberly Ray, wish program manager, the local chapter has 95 wish granters, who go through a classroom training session and work with a seasoned granter to learn the process.
Although he’s not sure how many wishes he’s fulfilled, there is one child who Craig recalls above all others.
Matthew’s family lived in Sandusky, and all he wanted was to go deep sea fishing. Soon after, Matthew, his brother and mom were fishing. As sometimes fishing expeditions go, his brother was bored, and Matthew wasn’t feeling well. Mom insisted they stay out a little longer, and then, magically, the crew caught a whopping 7-foot sailfish that Matthew helped reel in.
Unbeknownst to Matthew and his mom, Craig’s wish partner, Joe Schaller, made arrangements for the fish to be mounted. Matthew, frail with his disease, was on the couch when the box was delivered.
Craig will never forget the look on Matthew’s face or the tears his mom shed at her son’s funeral when they recalled the granted wish.
The sailfish remains mounted in the spot Matthew chose in their home, and as a tribute to her son, his mom became a wish granter.
Craig said granting wishes is easier since the expansion of the Make-A-Wish mission. No longer are wishes just for children with life-ending illnesses.
No longer is it a death sentence when the “Wish Man” arrives at the door. Now, he represents the opportunity to bring light into a family that has experienced much darkness.
Somewhere, Kristin is still smiling.
Julie Rubini lists her achievements in the order of their importance: wife and mom, the founder of Claire’s Day Inc., writer, with a background in sales/marketing and management.