The Make-A-Wish Foundation adds sunshine to sad stories. Quite frankly, there’s nothing happy about a child enduring a life-threatening disease but the Make-A-Wish Foundation does something about it. Rather than ignoring the situation, this organization gives children hope and what they deserve most: a childhood. Whether a child wants to be a prima ballerina for a day or fly in a fighter plane, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is always granting whatever a child’s heart desires.
For the past two years I have attended the El Segundo Walk for Wishes event with my sorority sisters and it gets more inspirational and fun every year. It’s a simple two mile walk, but by noon that day, thousands of dollars have been raised to grant children’s wishes. Mattel hosts the fundraiser and they have always put on a fantastic event with plenty of free “swag” like Uno cards, stuffed animals, and snacks (it is a toy store after all!). But it is so much more than the face paint, jolly jumps, and Yogurtland samples.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation does a fantastic job recognizing but not magnifying childhood illness. While there were sick children at the event, the idea of hospitals, illness, and medicine was far removed. Instead, there was Barbie, superheroes, and the national Make-A-Wish dog there to make children (and myself) simple have fun for the day.
I love how this organization realizes the unfortunate realities of this world but they do something positive about it. They give children the best time of their lives—all free of charge to the family—and they always go above and beyond. They spend as much as $10,000 per wish taking children and their families around the world to Hawaii, Disney World, or wherever the child would like to go.
My sorority, Chi Omega, has a national partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and we annually fundraise so that we are able to grant wishes. This past fall we sponsored a wish for a child named Jaden, who dreamed of a dinosaur playground. There was nothing better than seeing Jaden in his dinosaur hunting suit with a big smile on his face; you are giving these children memories that will last them a lifetime.
As I walked alongside my sisters at the walk, it reminded me of how much we can be thankful for. Each and every day, may we be thankful for life. And for our health—it is often a gift that goes unnoticed until it is replaced with sickness. And may we also be thankful for our family’s health; that we may have peace in our homes and hearts.
As I write this, I know there are people who are not well right now or their family member is not doing well—and that is why we must walk. Whether it is for Walk for Wishes or another cause that we are passionate about—may we make a difference wherever we go.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook