The Meridian Star
Make-A-Foundation, Mississippi, Spokesperson Brenda Golish detailed the operations of the foundation that makes wishes come true for children facing life-threatening medical conditions at the March meeting of the Collinsville Community Development Club.
"There is nothing like making a wish come true for a child facing a life-threatening medical condition," Golish said. "When the Foundation grants children heartfelt wishes, they help then to experience hope, strength and joy. During a wish experience, joy eclipses illness.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation was established in 1980 in Arizona and was inspired by 7-year-old leukemia patient Chris Greicius. Whenever Chris saw a police officer, he saw everything he wanted to be.
Upon hearing about Chris wish to be a police officer, local law enforcement officers responded. A police helicopter flew him to headquarters for a full day of police experience, including a tour, a ride in a patrol car and being sworn in as the first-ever honorary state patrolman in Arizona history. The officers didn’t stop there, completing Chris’s unforgettable wish by presenting him with his own custom-tailored uniform, motorcycle helmet campaign hat and motorcycle wings he earned on his own battery-operated bike. Chris inspired an organization that gives children a chance to live their dreams like he did.
According to Golish, the No.1-requested wish is – to go to Disney World. The average wish is for a puppy. Many children choose to meet their favorite celebrity, while some use their wishes to help other children.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of medically-eligible children older than 2 1/2 years old and younger than 18. The Foundation helps children with life threatening medical conditions – that is, a progressive, degenerative or malignant condition that has placed the child’s life in danger.
"A wish experience has the power not just to put a smile but to be a bright spot in the lives of everyone involved — families, referral sources, doners, and communities," Golish said.
The last step is for wish granters to create an unforgettable experience using the child’s creativity.
"It is an experience that enriches not just the lives of the children and their families, but often their entire community," she said.
Golish noted ways funds are generated for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, including garage sales, recycle cans, locks and keys, raffles and charity sales. On April 5, the annual Walk for Wishes will be held at Dumont Plaza in downtown Meridian.
"Make kids happy; share the joy," Golish said.
The March 17, 2014, meeting was called to order by club president Faye Houston. Darrel Harwell led the Pledge to the Flag.
Dr. David Sellers led the devotion. He said good news would be that a cure had been found for cancer. But the greatest news is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sellers noted that Easter will be observed on April 20 this year. Easter falls on different dates due to early Christians decision to observe the celebration on the first full moon after the start of spring. Easter could be as early as March 25 or as late as April 25, he said.
Projects and activities for the month included: five members helped Becca DeLee with her project on March 8 as she builds benches in pavilions at Camp Eagle Ridge; several members visited nursing homes, the sick and shut ins.
The club donated $400 to Casey McElhenney of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department to assist him with expenses when he attends F.B.I. school in Washington, D.C.
Yard of the Month honors for March were: Darrel and Judy Harwell, first place; Dave and Beverly Scales, second place; and Dan and Faye Houston, third place.
The meeting adjourned and members and guest enjoyed refreshments and fellowship. The serving committee included: Jill Williams, Beverly Scales and Linda Cook.
The next meeting will be April 21.
• Submitted by June Gibson.