Posted on Apr 08, 2023
Having a serious disease is scary for anyone, but for a child it’s even worse. The granting of a wish to a seriously ill child can build hope and inspire strength. Heather Ginsky, Sr. Manager, Corporate & Community Partnerships, spoke at our March 30, 2023 meeting about her work for the San Diego chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation.  Starting in 1980 with one seven-year-old, Christopher James Greicius, who wished to be a police officer, Make-A-Wish now has nearly 60 chapters across the United Sates. The San Diego chapter began in 1983 and has since granted more than 5,000 life-affirming wishes to children in San Diego and Imperial counties.
After a referral by medical professionals, Make-A-Wish staff and volunteers work with the child to discover their perfect wish.  Wishes typically fall into four categories:  I wish to (i) be; (ii) have; (iii) meet; and (iv) go.  For fiscal year 2023, the San Diego chapter hopes to grant 250 wishes, and already 99 have been granted. The most popular wish is a family trip to Disney World, but meeting celebrities or athletes are also popular.
The wishes have a big effect. In their National Wish Impact study, nearly all clinicians surveyed said that granted wishes had a positive impact on the child’s physical well-being. Nearly all parents surveyed said that the wish reduced the degree of stress in their child and brought their families closer together.  Most importantly, nearly all wish alumni said they felt more hopeful about their future after receiving their wish. 
The current average cost of a gift is $10,000, and, like everything else, costs of providing the same quality wish are rising.  Heather said that there are lots of ways to help Make-A-Wish grant more wishes.  In addition to a range of volunteer opportunities, donations of airline miles help fulfill wishes that involve travel.  You can also attend their Wine and Wishes gala in October. Reach out to Heather if you’d like additional information about helping wishes come true.