By the time Cole had turned two, he had been through more than most people experience in a lifetime, including numerous surgeries to correct a seizure disorder and remove a tumor in his left temporal lobe. Make-A-Wish® helped to bring joy back into his and his family's life by sending them to the Bahamas a few years later.
"Our family had a chance to take a deep breath and feel a sense of togetherness and joy like never before," said Cole's mother. "He kept saying 'I just can't believe this is happening.' That sense of joy and pride he felt was so amazing for us to see after seeing him go through so much. For once, he felt something good had happened because of his brain tumor instead of all the bad he had once endured. Through his wish, Cole gained a happiness and confidence he would have never had otherwise."
Since the first wish was granted on April 29, 1980, Make-A-Wish has given hope to more than 240,000 kids just like Cole who are battling life-threatening medical conditions, including more than 2,200 in West Virginia. More than 80% of these kids are still living today -- a testament to the power of a wish. In fact, according to a 2011 study commissioned by Make-A-Wish, 71 percent of adult former wish kids believe the wish experience contributed to saving their lives.
Today, on World Wish Day®, we celebrate all of these brave kids, as well as those who make their wishes possible.
There are many ways to help bring joy to a local child with a life-threatening medical condition. Here's how:
1. Refer A Child: If you know a child between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 with a diagnosed life-threatening medical condition, please contact us at (800) 676-9474 to make a referral.
2. Donate air miles: Our Make-A-Wish chapter needs more than 124 million air miles each year to send kids like Cole on their travel wishes. Donate your unused Delta, US Airways and United miles today at wv.wish.org.
3. Support Make-A-Wish events or make a donation: Visit our calendar of events, make a donationand learn ways that you can fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.
4. Volunteer: Help be a superhero to a local child by becoming a volunteer. To learn more, visit our volunteer page or call (800) 676-9474.