CD fundraiser will help Make-A-Wish grant more ‘heartfelt wishes’Written by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | email@example.com
The mission and passion of Make-A-Wish Foundation is to grant wishes for children with medically life-threatening conditions.
“We want to grant the heartfelt wish of every child,” said Emily Denholm, marketing communications coordinator for Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. “Every wish is different. We really try to focus on the uniqueness of every wish.”
Being able to grant more wishes for children in Northwest Ohio is the reason Denholm is excited about “Holiday Wishes 2,” a benefit CD project organized for the second year by Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller.
For Christmas 2011, Toledo Free Press produced “Holiday Wishes,” a CD of holiday songs performed by Northwest Ohio musicians. The 25-track compilation sold out quickly, raising more than $25,000 for Make-A-Wish.
“The response was immediate and there was no doubt we were going to try again this year,” Miller said. “At the end of summer, we had 87 minutes of great music, but a CD only holds about 80 minutes. So we had to either cut seven minutes or find another 73. Not only did we find what we needed, we have several great songs on hold for 2013.”
This year’s project, “Holiday Wishes 2,” is a two-disc CD package featuring 44 tracks contributed by local artists. CDs are available for $15 at area Panera Bread and select Levis Commons locations. Digital downloads will also be available. The project, from the recording to the mixing to the artwork by Dustin Hostetler (UPSO), was created locally.
Because the project was sponsored by GM Powertrain Toledo, UAW Local 14, WNWO, 101.5 The River, A&D Glass & Mirror, Levis Commons and Panera Bread, all proceeds will go directly to Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to benefit children in the 21-county Northwest Ohio region.
“People really enjoyed it last year,” Denholm said. “This year we added more songs to make it even better. People love Christmas music and this gives them the opportunity to go out and buy a CD that not only features local artists, but promotes a local cause. I think people are very excited about it and we are, too.”
Make-A-Wish grants wishes for children 2½ to 18 who have a medically life-threatening condition that is progressive, degenerative or malignant — although not necessarily terminal. Many “wish kids” recover and go on to lead healthy lives, Denholm said.
Many children are referred to Make-A-Wish by doctors or social workers while others come through family inquiries. Doctors decide whether a child’s condition qualifies for a wish and whether the child is healthy enough to experience his or her wish.
The Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky chapter has granted more than 11,000 wishes since it started in 1983.
Among the most popular wishes are visiting a theme park, traveling, going on a shopping spree and meeting a celebrity. Recent wishes granted in Northwest Ohio include a trip to Yellowstone National Park and a trip to Nickelodeon Studios to get “slimed,” Denholm said.
“Wishes typically fall into four categories,” Denholm said. “To go, as in go on a trip. To be, as in to be a police officer for example, which was the first wish ever granted, in Arizona in 1980. To have, such as a laptop or a shopping spree. Or to meet, such as dolphins or a celebrity.”
The Make-A-Wish experience has positive effects on the child and everyone in their lives, Denholm said.
“The wish helps not only the child, but the family, the volunteers, the medical professionals. They all get to be a part of what this child’s big dream is,” Denholm said. “When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, they are constantly told ‘No.’ Make-A-Wish is an opportunity for us to say ‘Yes.’ We work very hard to make sure we find out what the heartfelt wish of each child is and then do our very best to make it come true. I think that’s the magic of Make-A-Wish. That’s when you really see our mission come to life.”
Ninety-eight percent of parents surveyed by Make-A-Wish said they felt the wish experience allowed them to put aside fear and stress for a time and feel like a “normal” family again. Eighty-one percent of parents said they noticed an increased willingness from their child to comply with their treatment. A combined 89 percent of nurses, doctors, social workers and child life specialists surveyed said the Make-A-Wish experience can have a positive impact on a child’s emotional and even physical health.
Make-A-Wish does not receive federal, state or local government funding. Wishes are paid for by donations and donations in kind, including gifted airline miles. The average cost of a wish is $8,000, Denholm said.
“The holiday season is a celebration of giving and family, and I think that’s really where the heart of our mission is,” Denholm said. “We give back to our community and give back to our kids. Our hope is that people are not only touched by the holiday season but also our magical mission and just continue to help our wish kids.”
For more information, visit makeawishohio.org.