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Testimonials

Mick

Mick_fireworks"Please accept the warmest heart-felt thanks of an incredibly happy 10-year old boy, Michael, and his family for the overwhelming experiences and memories of a lifetime. Because of your investment of time and thoughtful attention to making his dreams come true, you provided something better than medicine: utter joy that lifted the spirits of the entire family to all-time highs, lasting for days and days, as little bits and pieces of his wish were revealed and granted. We have been truly blessed by your talents and generosity, and we are forever thankful... Seeing Michael run so confidently through the fireworks onto the field is a moment we will never forget and will treasure forever.

Despite some limitations, Michael is always looking for some athletic action; he is most comfortable with a ball in his arms... Make-A-Wish and the Pittsburgh Power have forever codified his love for sports and his place in the athletic world. You can be assured that for years and years hence, Michael, and his family will think back fondly to the time when he was the number one player of an incredible professional sports franchise. What a gift we have been given!

With deepest gratitude and
admiration,
Michael's Family"

Mick's wish was to be a member of the Pittsburgh Power arena football team.

Kayla

Dear Make-A-Wish,

I cannot even begin to explain how thankful I am to everyone with Make-A-Wish and everyone that was involved with making my wish come true. It truly was an incredible experience that will stay with me forever. For a moment in time, I wasn't thinking about my medical issues. I wasn't thinking about doctors, upcoming procedures, or anything of the sort. I was excited, joyful, cheery and overall just happy. It wasn't because I got to meet Justin (which was incredible), but it was simply because there are people out there like you who go to extraordinary lengths to help kids like me. I'm not sure if you know how much you have changed my life and how much you touch the hearts of my family and I every day. You have made me think differently about life in itself. I now take on everyday with more confidence and a different outlook. I am no longer afraid to take on each day. I am more accepting of my illness, and I feel like because of you, I can do anything. Dreams do come true, mine did. Thank you.

Kayla

Kayla was granted her wish to meet Justin Bieber

Alfonso

"You have truly been a blessing to our family in so many ways. In granting one wish for our son who they said wouldn't even live this long, Make-A-Wish actually did more than make his wish come true. You started a new outlook on life not for only him but our entire family. Alfonso has now started to make new friends and despite not being able to participate in sports, doesn't feel alone or left out. We love you sooo much, Erica and Kim (& the Make-A-Wish Foundation), for changing our lives. Thank you so much for continuing to be part of our lives!"

Alfonso's mom and family

Alfonso's wish was to have a St. Bernard puppy.

walkforstrength

Lisa

The best part of Lisa's wish for her parents -- seeing her surf.

"Knowing that years ago, Lisa was at Children’s Hospital not knowing if she would be healthy again. To see her surf was a blessing to know she is in remission!

It was like the good times are ahead of us. We did not focus on the past, but felt it was a start of a new journey."

Lisa in Beautiful Hawaii 

Sylvia Choi, MD FAAP

Dear Make-A-Wish,

As a doctor I can take a history, perform a physical exam, make a diagnosis, and prescribe therapies or medications. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is able to do for my patients what I cannot - give them an incredible wish of their choice that allows them to experience the joys of being a child. Many of my patients have wished to go to Disney World, and the trips they have taken have truly been unforgettable. Your organization and the organizations/individuals you partner with to provide wishes have treated my patients and their families with unbelievable kindness, respect and generosity. I have never heard a negative comment from any of my patients/families about their Make-A-Wish adventure, be it a trip to Disney World, a visit with their favorite movie star or a local shopping spree. In fact, the first time I see a child after their wish is spent hearing fantastic stories of the trip, looking at pictures and watching them laugh.

Thank you again for everything you do to help children who are fighting for their lives enjoy a little bit of childhood. Your organization has helped my patients in ways that medicine cannot.

Sincerely,
Sylvia Choi, MD FAAP
The Paul C. Gaffney Diagnostic Referral Service
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh


Aidan

We are getting so excited for our Make A Wish experience! I am in happy tears reading the stories of Wish kids then and now...it is a tremendously joyful thing to see these children who once fought, like our son is fighting right now, and WON against cancer. I love seeing how their Wish affected them and their families so positively. We are so grateful to be a part of this wonderful team! ♥

Aidan's mom

Ben

“Words will not appropriately capture our feelings and experiences that we had on our trip. We were so blessed to be part of this program. To see the boys so happy and carefree was such a treat. Disney did a great job of granting Ben’s wish of “helping Buzz save Woody.” Ben is a cautious child and to see him give Buzz a big hug brought smiles and tears.

Give Kids the World was an additional treat and surprise. I have never been to a place like that. Compassion and love were tangible in the air. We are so grateful for the experience. Thank you so much for a life-changing and enhancing event and week.”

~Ben's mom

Ben's wish was to go to Walt Disney World® to "help Buzz save Woody."

  • Ben gets a big hug from Buzz Lightyear

  • Ben, his family with Woody, Buzz and the Toy Story gang

  • Ben smiles as he hugs his Mickey toy

  • Ben with a dinosaur

Brian

"Our family is truly blessed to have met all the wonderful people in our ordeal with leukemia, an event that could have had a negative impact but did just the opposite.  Our family has experienced many wonders of this world, and true love of God, Family and Friends.

Thank you Make-A-Wish for being part of our lives!"

-Brian's mom

Brian was granted his wish to go whale watching in Maine in 1994.  He is now healthy and recently graduated from Clarion University.

Caitlin

Caitlin meets Carol Burnett“Our daughter, Caitlin, had the amazing experience of meeting quite possibly the loveliest woman we have ever known, Carol Burnett.  Every day since that trip, Caitlin has talked about how "fabulous" or "unbelievable" the experience was.… you can never truly know how full a mother's (and father's) heart can be from seeing your child who has struggled for everything be so completely filled with joy.  Thank you from a weepy mom and dad!

Thank you from the bottom of our overflowing hearts,

Caitlin’s parents”

Cole

"Thank you for the best vacation ever!" Your friend, Cole 

"Cole's bad memories from his illness are replaced with beautiful, fun memories. This trip seemed to be his "closure" (from many trips to the hospital), his celebration of being cancer free."
-Cole's mom

Cole, 9, diagnosed with heptoblastoma, went to Walt Disney World® for his wish.

Cole and his mom

Dominic

"The whole trip was about Dominic and creating memories with him that will last a lifetime. To be able to do nothing but have fun for a week is the most incredible gift you can give to a family... From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! It's impossible to accurately explain how special this trip was and how grateful we are!"

~Dominic's mom

Dominic's wish was to go to Walt Disney World®.

Dominic and Donald Duck


Francesca

Ready for a fashion showThanks to Make-A-Wish, I flew from PA to LA, where I sat in the front row at numerous fashion shows, got all dolled up back stage, met stylist Rachel Zoe, and received many glamorous goodies. This exciting experience is something that I will never forget, for all of my tomorrows.

By having my wish granted, I was able to find faith in a better tomorrow. I finally felt like I was more than just my diagnosis; I was an evolving story, one that is far from ending, and one that I shall surely share. On the plane ride back after a week’s bliss, it then occurred to me that I had a lot of living and loving left to do. I may be going home…but I know I’m going places, too.”

-Francesca

Francesca, 17
Brain stem glioma
I wish to be a blogger for Style Fashion Week!

Izabel

“Our trip to Disney this past January was truly magical.  Before we left for our trip we were making preparations to bring hospice in upon our return for my daughter, Izabel.  I am happy to report Izabel is doing extremely well and is now stable.  Hospice has not been called in, she actually has not been this well in years. This trip created memories for all my children and for my husband and I.  Thank you Make-A-Wish for allowing my daughter’s wish to meet Dora the Explorer come true.  We will always have these memories to get us through the hard times we face in the future.”  

~Izabel’s mom

Izabel, 10, diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, was granted her wish to meet Dora the Explorer at Walt Disney World®!

Izabel meets Dora the Explorer


Jacob's family

Jacob with the designers of the Lord of the Rings LEGO setWhat does it look like when a wish comes true?

When asked to draw a picture of his wish, our 10-year old son drew a picture of LEGO bricks...  He then told the kindly volunteers in our living room that he wanted to meet the master builders who had designed the Lord of the Rings LEGO sets.

Our son goes by “JT,” but his birth certificate actually reads “Jacob Treebeard.”  The middle name comes from Middle Earth:  Treebeard is a character in The Lord of the Rings, and I’ve  read to him from this book from the time he was born.  When I got to the part about Treebeard, JT was only a couple months old, living on the Hematology/Oncology floor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where the doctors were only beginning to understand the extent of his life-threatening genetic immunodeficiency.  Through the years and infections and lengthy hospital stays, there were many things JT could not do from the confines of his hospital bed, but he could always build LEGO sets.  And when he battled through his bone-marrow transplant and then a variety of transplant-related complications, he always took courage that his immune system was growing slowly and steadily, like a tree.

So JT’s one wish was to visit LEGO headquarters and meet the guys who had designed the character he’s named for.  When the volunteers left, I told him that it was a pretty big wish.  I didn’t want him to be disappointed if it couldn’t be granted.  Then we got the call… This was not something that I could ever do for him, but Make-A-Wish was going to make it happen. 

What followed was literally the trip of a lifetime.  Make-A-Wish took care of everything, from a personal tour of the LEGO factory to two-day tickets to the LEGOLAND rides right outside our hotel window.  It was, in JT’s own words, “Epic!”

He will never forget that first morning, when our guide Kalle led us through the LEGO museum and then into a bright, spacious meeting room.  There at the table were Bjarke and Jordan, the two master builders who had designed LEGO Treebeard himself.  For JT, it was like meeting the president:  these guys are his movie stars.  They were so great – so kind, so interested, so genuine, so humble, so present with us.  How could they know how much this meant to a kid who’s had to fight for his life?  They talked to our son like a fellow builder, discussing special pieces, telling stories about the design process, and asking his opinion about the many autographed sets they gave him as gifts.  Words don’t do the scene justice.  It was truly overwhelming.    

So what does it look like when a wish comes true?  It looks like kindness.  When you see it, it hits you hard, right in the chest, and it makes your eyes water.  It looks like a young boy beaming with fierce joy, eyes shining, happy and alive.

We are deeply, deeply grateful.  Thank you.  

Jacob's mom

Jacob, 11, diagnosed with a life-threatening genetic immunodeficiency, wished to go to the LEGO headquarters.


Joseph

Joseph Thank You Letter

Mason

Mason at the beachI just want to thank you for giving my son a week to remember! My son Mason has an extremely rare blood disorder called Congenital Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. He receives plasma infusions every three weeks and has numerous hospital stays. He wished to go to the "beach with mommy and daddy and find the coolest seashells ever!" You truly made his wish come true! He found so many shells and enjoyed all the activities that were planned for him! It was incredible to have a whole week dedicated to him!! Thank you so much for the memories that we will hold in our hearts forever!!! Thank you so much. We will never forget it!! Make-A-Wish is amazing!!

Mason's family

Shawn's Family

Shawn and his family at Give Kids the WorldYou recently granted my five-year-old son, Shawn, his wish to go to Disney World.  It was amazing!  Shawn has been sick since the day we brought him home from the hospital.  To say it has been difficult for him, my seven-year-old daughter Ellie, my husband and myself would be an understatement.  Shawn has been in and out of the hospital since he was born.    Shawn has been through so much in his short, precious life. When you see an innocent child suffer the way Shawn has, it makes you question everyone and everything.  But our experience with Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World Village has helped to restore our faith in humanity.  It is hard to believe that an organization like Make-A-Wish exists.

When we were granted our wish, I told people the good news is Shawn got granted his wish and the bad news is that Shawn got granted his wish.  I wanted to be denied the wish because then that would make me believe that my son's illness was not life-threatening. But, it is.  And so we got to go to Disney -- a trip we would have never been able to afford to take otherwise.  I felt guilty for accepting the gift because I know many families are in worse shape financially than we are.  But a friend of mine who is in a similar situation who also received a trip to Disney from Make-A-Wish said that what her family received during their trip couldn't  be bought.  And she was absolutely right.  The entire experience was so spectacular that it is indescribable.  Everyone was so kind.  Keith and Lisa Hickman, our wish volunteers, were wonderful! We are so thankful for the time they spent with us.  They truly helped to make our experience with Make-A-Wish wonderful.

The people at Give Kids the World are so helpful and loving.  You can tell they truly want to be there for the families who stay there.  It is unbelievable that a place like that exists.  The special touches they provide the families is so far beyond any expectations.  The star, the pillow, ice cream for breakfast, the nice folks who met us at the airport, the visit from the Mayor to tuck in the kids, front of the line access at the parks, gifts every evening upon our return.... there are too many to list.

I struggle to find the words that adequately express our gratitude and the words to describe the experience.  Every time we got to go to the front of the line I felt happiness and sadness at the same time.  I just couldn't help thinking of the reason we were there and the reason we got to go to the front of the line.  The feeling was indescribable.  Mostly, I just felt such deep appreciation that my children got this experience.  It certainly was one of the may things about the trip that couldn't be bought.  I'm sure we got to see and do at least twice as much as other guests at the parks.  Also, my son fatigues easily and has heat intolerance so standing in long lines would have been out of the question so this truly helped to make the experience unforgettable.  This was such a wonderful gift and made both of my children happier than you could imagine.

Again, we cannot adequately express our gratitude.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and are truly grateful for the most amazing gift we have ever received.  This was such a wonderful gift that made both of my children happier than you could imagine.  It is an experience we will never forget! Please don't ever underestimate or question the value you provide to families who are suffering.  It will ever be embedded in our hearts.

With much love and appreciation,

Shawn's family

Sydney

"Once we took our trip to Disney this past June, it lifted her spirits and she became more accepting of getting her liver transplant. We are still waiting for the transplant and she says the big picture of her with Cinderella hanging in her bedroom makes her feel better when she is sad or upset. The trip helped our strength as a family too. We were able to have a week of nothing but fun and family time which was amazing!! We will never be able to thank Make-A-Wish enough for not only granting Sydney's wish but the gift they gave the whole family."

-Sydney's mom

Sydney, 9, diagnosed with short bowl syndrome, was granted her wish for a trip to Walt Disney World in June 2013.

Pauline Follmer

"One smile for one second makes volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation a true life-altering privilege."

Pauline Follmer
Berks County volunteer


Sadie

Sadie in Hawaii with her brotherDear Make-A-Wish,

Our family would like to say thank you to you and everyone that has helped to make this trip one that we will never forget. Thank you to Amy Kane and everyone in the Wilkes-Barre Regional Office and to Sadie's volunteers, Frank Maher and Debbie Reese, for so much care (the boxes were GREAT). This trip gave us something to look forward to and helped us realize that life could feel normal again. A week after we returned, Sadie had another round of chemo, but we felt like we could handle whatever we needed to do. Spending the day at the hospital has never gone by so fast, as we got to show the nurses and doctors the beautiful pictures of Hawaii. Thank you for showing us people really do care and that we CAN do this, one day at a time!

Sincerely,
Sadie's Family

 

Owen

I want to say "thank you" for our wonderful trip.  It was a week that took us away from thinking about doctors appointments and hospital stays.  It was like stepping out of our stressed life and into a fairy tale. Owen got to meet so many characters and he got all of their autographs, which he will cherish for the rest of his life....The staff at Give Kids the World were so pleasant and eager to meet our every need.  I was so impressed with them.  It is an awesome thing that the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Give Kids the World do! My family's hope is that more people find out about these two organizations.  What you do for children with severe health problems is give them a "HOPE" and let them know that they are 'LOVED' by not only their families, but by many.  I will be sure to use my voice and let everyone know what great things come from these two organizations and encourage people to give and to make more DREAMS COME TRUE!"


Owen's Mom
Wish: To go to Walt Disney World®

Owen Meets Dr. Suess characters

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