Article By: Tula Mason
Wishes, it doesn’t matter how old you are, we all have them. All be it everyone’s wishes are important, none are more so than the children who are fighting life-threatening diseases. I have no doubt that all of you would love nothing more than to help make their wishes a reality.
What could be more rewarding than to lend loving support to these children and their families, not to mention helping to provide a much-needed bright spot in an otherwise dark period in their lives? I’m sure that you have all heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation at some time or another. This organization was founded in 1980 and began getting its first media coverage in 1982 by way of the TV show NBC Magazine. The National Make-A-Wish Foundation became incorporated in May of 1983 spawning the opening of more chapters across the nation. To date the foundation has granted the wishes of more than 270,000 children across the United States. The question is, did you know that we actually have a local chapter that serves the children of Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia?
The Make-A-Wish Chapter of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia has served our area for 33 years. They have granted wishes to over 17,000 children with life threatening medical conditions spanning 57 Pennsylvania counties and West Virginia. It may come as a shock to you to find out that our very own Berkeley County in West Virginia is the number one area in the Eastern Panhandle in terms of requested wishes with Jefferson County running a close second. I found this to be not only surprising, but also quite a staggering number as well. In fact, with the total number of granted wishes totaling over 165 to date over the organizations 33 years, 10 wishes were granted to children from Berkeley County in 2016 alone. Furthermore, there are an additional 9 wishes from the county that have been requested and are currently pending in 2017 already. As sad as these numbers are, it makes me so proud to know that there are people willing to give of themselves and their money for our children who need help the most.
It is important to note that our Make-A-Wish Chapter of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia relies solely on us the community to refer children with life threatening diseases to them in order to make their wishes come true. It is equally as important to note that permission from the child’s parent or guardian is required before any action can be taken. So if you know of any child or family of a child in our area who might benefit from the gift of a granted wish, please, please speak with them and request their permission to refer them to this wonderful foundation. Once you have done this it’s just a matter of contacting the foundation either by phone or online by way of computer.
With the average cost of a wish being $4,400.00, the Make-A-Wish Foundation depends totally on donations from anyone who is willing to give. These donations are always very appreciated and are of course tax deductible also. Any monetary contribution, no matter how big or small goes directly to benefit these brave and deserving children. Another way to help the organization meet the huge financial burden is with that of fundraisers. In fact, it is clear that Berkeley County possesses a high number of children who can or already have benefited from a granted wish. With this in mind, there is a serious need for fundraising events in this area.
Unfortunately in this case the demand far outweighs the supply. There are numerous options available when it comes to fundraising opportunities such as online by way of the Make- A-Wish Chapter of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia website, students for wish kids through the school system, wish makers at work, wedding bell wishes, and planning a special event to name a few.
It goes without saying that we all feel compelled to take care of our children. I’m sure that many of you are eager to help in any way that you can and are wondering what you can do to contribute to this wonderful cause. There are so many ways to give to the Make-A-Wish Chapter of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Here are some other donation options that you may want to consider: donating unused airline miles or workplace giving and gift matching. Please keep in mind that every little bit helps.
Volunteering is another much needed way to lend a hand. In this case there is absolutely no such thing as too many volunteers. There are so many ways to give of your time, and talents, from assisting with fundraisers to encouraging co-workers to donate for example. It doesn’t matter what you are able to give, it only matters that you give what you can. There are four types of wishes provided to the children referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in this case of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia. These include: travel, gifts, being something special, and meeting someone special.
If a wish kid wishes it, the foundation makes it happen. The benefits to these children reach far beyond the actual wish itself and have a lasting positive impact on not only them but their families as well. “Wishes allow a child to see that anything is possible.” This quote sums it up nicely. Strengthening families, increasing their happiness, and even improving the physical health of the wish kids are only a few examples of the many positive benefits that have been proven. Obviously, although these wishes are for children with life-threatening medical conditions, they benefit their families equally as much.
The Regional office for the Make-A-Wish Chapter of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia is located at 913 Canyon Road Morgantown, WV 26508. This same office is also the local office as well. The fact that both offices are located in the same location although apparently confusing at times, certainly helps to maintain continuity between the two departments of the foundation. For those of you who would like more detailed information about how to volunteer, make a donation, or take part in a fundraiser, please feel free to call the Morgantown location at (304) 292-5600 or toll free at (888) 808-9474. You may also contact them via email by visiting their web site at greaterpawv.wish.org and find out more about the foundation also. Now let me leave you with some important things to remember to drive the point home.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation was born in 1980 and has grown and expanded on a national scale over the years. For more than 33 years Make-A-Wish Chapter of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia has granted the wishes of many of our local children that have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases. Over their years of operation they have already granted over 165 wishes to date and counting. No doubt this number would be even higher if more of us knew that they depend on people like us to refer these children in need to them. It is important to realize that they count solely on volunteers to make wishes to come true for these courageous children and their families.
That being said I urge each of you to look inside yourself and consider becoming a volunteer or to donate whatever you can afford to help make a child’s special wish come true. Remember that these wishes provide much more than a gift or a good time but also positive outlooks, physical and emotional strength, even improved physical health. I thank you all in advance for your generous support.