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Wishing Well Blog

Apr 29, 2015

Celebrating 35 Years of Wishes

World Wish Day 2015
If you could go anywhere, have anything, be anything or meet anyone, what would it be?

This is the question we ask when we first meet a wish child. Today, we celebrate the more than 350,000 children who have answered this question and have been granted a wish in the last 35 years. On April 29, 1980, Chris Grecius, a seven-year-old boy living in Arizona, was given the chance to be a police officer for a day and forget about the challenges of battling leukemia. Although Chris passed away shortly after, discussions began about creating a wish granting organization. Make-A-Wish was born.

Today, there are 61 Make-A-Wish chapters in the United States and 38 international affiliates.  Make-A-Wish came to Pennsylvania on May 5, 1983, when Bryan, a seven-year-old cancer patient in Pittsburgh, wished to visit his favorite uncle in Texas for one of his famous piggyback rides.    One of the first West Virginia wishes was granted in December 1991 in Charleston. Christina was just 11 years old when she was surprised by a hot air balloon “parked” in front of her home in Birch River. Inside, Christina found her new computer.

Today, we celebrate Bryan, Christina and all the wish kids -- including Marissa, Francesca and Nathan pictured above -- who have been given a chance to dream and plan for the future.  For these kids, their wishes have worked wonders - giving them hope and a chance to forget about their medical worries.  Here's what they had to say about their wish experience.

"They (Make-A-Wish) help kids who are going through a tough time in their life and they give them hope and joy and they show love through answering what they want as their wish and making their wish come true," - Marissa

“It is unbelievable how Make-A-Wish can turn a medical issue into a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience. From the time that I met the volunteers, throughout the meetings and on my wish trip, not once did they bring attention to my medical condition. They just made certain that I was having a good time. That is exactly what wish kids need: to focus on the fortunate times.” -Nathan

"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

Since its foundation, Make-A-Wish has been about more than just about granting nice experiences for kids who are going through a difficult time in their lives.  Its about giving kids renewed outlooks that can be game-changers in their fight against their medical condition.  We can't thank all of our supporters, donors and volunteers who make these wishes possible.  Today, wish kids and others involved with Make-A-Wish are saying thank you in a big way -- click here to view notes of gratitude from around the world.

About this Blog

This blog brings Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia to you -- sharing first-person stories of the Make-A-Wish experience and the impact of a wish from the perspectives of wish families, volunteers and staff. This blog highlights wishes come true and the special people in Pennsylvania and West Virginia that help create life-changing experiences for every eligible child.

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Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Inc.
The Gulf Tower
707 Grant Street, 37th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1938
(412) 471-9474
Toll Free (800) 676-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Southern West Virginia Office
888 Oakwood Rd
Oakwood Center, Suite 330
Charleston, WV 25314
(304) 342-9474
Toll Free (800) 664-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Office
913 Canyon Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
(304) 292-5600
Toll Free (888) 808-9474