Commentary: Understanding the power of a wish

For Von, an 8-year-old from Dover, a volcano was more than a geological marvel, it was a beacon of hope and strength.

Von, the youngest of five children, is known for his funny, outgoing personality, but years of treatment for cancer took a toll on Von and his family. When a Make-A-Wish volunteer asked him to draw a picture of his one true wish, he drew an erupting volcano.

Make-A-Wish went to work bringing his wish to life, and Von became the envy of all his friends. He was no longer the “cancer kid”; now he was the kid going to Hawaii to see a volcano! Von, eagerly anticipating his trip, and looked forward to every gift package from wish volunteers. The anticipation was a great distraction for not only Von, but the whole family

Von’s wish took place in early 2018. Visiting that volcano, taking a submarine ride, snorkeling — no corner of the Big Island was left unexplored. The trip was more than just a few days away from home, it was “escaping the cancer world,” for a little while, said his mother.

The effect stayed with him when he returned home. Things just didn’t seem so hard or dramatic any more, after all, he’d jumped off lava rocks, said Gina, Von’s mother.

That is the power of a wish.

“This is a really, really important program,” said Gov. John Carney, as he signed a proclamation declaring April 29, World Wish Day in Delaware. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of a wish, and the life-changing work Make-A-Wish does every day for children and families across our state.”

The mission of Make-A-Wish is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. For these children, a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight their illness.

But the wish doesn’t stop there.

Wishes impact everyone involved — volunteers, donors, sponsors, medical professionals and communities. Parents, like Frazier, might finally feel like they can be optimistic. Doctors and nurses might see that extra spark take hold in their patients as they have a new reason to hope. Communities might come together to cheer on the wish recipients to show they are not alone. And still, others might realize how much they have to offer the world through volunteer work or philanthropy.

The vision of Make-A-Wish Delaware and all Make-A-Wish chapters is to grant the wish of every eligible child. It’s a big job. Last year, 100 new patients were admitted for cancer care at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington. That is just a fraction of the children who could qualify for a wish.

In 2018, Make-A-Wish Delaware granted wishes for 60 local children. While we are proud to be able to grant so many wishes, there are so many more children, families, and communities that could benefit from a wish – a focus on the possibilities of tomorrow, not the challenges of today.

This is why wishes needs you. On April 29, Make-A-Wish Delaware will celebrate World Wish Day, the 39th anniversary of the granting of the first wish to 7-year-old Chris Greicius in 1980. We invite you to join us by going to our website at PhilaDeSV.wish.org to learn ways you can bring hope and strength to more local children battling critical illnesses.

You can show the world: Where there’s a wish, there’s a way.

Kim Hoey Stevenson is Community Relations Manager for Make-A-Wish Delaware.

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