25 Years + 3,000 Wishes = Unlimited Joy and Memories
April 28, 2008, Toronto, ON – While Make-A-Wish® affiliates world-wide will tomorrow mark the anniversary of the first wish granted to a child with a life-threatening illness, only Make-A-Wish Canada will have the added distinction of also celebrating twenty-five years of making wishes come true.
“Twenty-five years of providing hope, happiness and joy to children facing life-threatening illness, one magical wish at a time, is something we are very proud of and believe is deserving of celebration,” said Dave Stinton, President of Make-A-Wish Canada. “What started as a simple desire to fulfill a wish of a young girl in 1983 has grown into an organization that has granted more than three thousand wishes to children across Canada. We now have chapter offices across the country; more than 50 employees; many long-standing and valued sponsors and donors, and 700 highly committed and devoted volunteers whose passion and dedication continues to drive our mission.”
Make-A-Wish was founded in British Columbia by two friends, Nigel Brown and Robb Lucy. Brown believed so strongly in the power of a wish come true that he used his own personal credit card to pay for the first wish. “My initial idea was to get some very ill children away from hospital rooms, white coats and painful procedures – for them to get back to being kids again with their families. Make-A-Wish is all about dreams and the thrill of the magical moment of surprise.”
“We didn’t consciously think of why we were doing it,” said Lucy. “It just felt good and deep inside, we knew it was the right thing to do. The excitement of the family and all the suppliers was the rocket fuel to do the first wish – then another, then another. It also taught us the good feeling of giving.”
According to Brown, “Looking back, I don’t think any of us truly understood the potential power of a wish. Later, we realized it could literally rebirth a purpose to live . . ., to continue the fight and to provide hope.”
To this day, both founders remain involved with Make-A-Wish. “For me, referring a child to Make-A-Wish still gives me goose bumps,” said Lucy. “I know the child will have the time of their life, and the wish may even be the catalyst for a healthier life. For the parents, it’s like a tide: the sadness, the angst, the regret all roll out, and the joy comes rolling in and fills them watching all their kids having a ball. And for me, it’s just quiet warmth, knowing some lives are changing and the memories will last forever.”
25th Anniversary celebrations will occur from coast to coast throughout the year. From a picnic in the park, to special dessert promotions, a concert, and even simultaneous cycling events occurring in several provinces in the fall, Make-A-Wish Canada is planning something for everyone. In October Make-A-Wish will grant twenty-five wishes in one week. “We typically grant about one wish every day,” said Mary Jardine, CEO. “Twenty-five in one week is an enormous undertaking, but our volunteers, staff, our sponsors and our wish children are really excited about taking on this challenge.”
According to Stinton, “We create hope, magical smiles, some urgently needed joy and laughter, and important, happy memories for ill children. We’ve been doing this for twenty-five years and we still believe every wish we make come true is cause for celebration.”
About Make-A-Wish Canada
Make-A-Wish Canada, through its eight regional chapters, grants wishes to create hope and happiness for children with life-threatening illnesses. Founded after a group of individuals helped a young boy fulfill his dream of being a police officer, Make-A-Wish is now the largest wish-granting organization in the world, making dreams and wishes come true for more than 200,000 children. www.makeawish.ca
Nigel Brown and Robb Lucy will be available for interviews in the Vancouver and Kelowna area and by telephone in other areas.
Photos of Wish Child, Daniel Fritz and his “travel” wish story are available at
http://www.makeawish.ca/application/uploads/Daniel's Wish Story.pdf
Daniel will be available for interviews in the Southwestern Ontario area.
Photos Wish Child Thuy Duong Do, and her “celebrity” wish story are available at
http://www.makeawish.ca/application/uploads/Thuy’s Wish Story.pdf
Thuy will be available for interviews in the Eastern Ontario region.
For more information, contact:
Krista Bussey, Make-A-Wish® Canada, 1-888-822-9474 ext 223, firstname.lastname@example.org