Alyssa knows what it means to receive a wish. In 2005 she was diagnosed with Gardner syndrome, a rare genetic condition that still requires close monitoring today.
Her wish took her to the California Speedway to meet NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and watch him race. “To this day, my wish is something that continues to have an impact on my life,” she affirmed. “It gave me hope at a time in my life where there was a lot of uncertainty.”
It is that exciting anticipation that Alyssa wants to share with the children and families she works with as a Make-A-Wish volunteer. She draws upon her unique insight from her own wish experience as she helps to plan wishes for other kids today. “I’m able to answer their questions about the wish process from the wish kid’s perspective,” she said. “I think it’s easier for me to relate to wish kids and the emotions they deal with.”
She knows that the bonds between her and her wish kids are incredibly important relationships in lives of medications and needles and surgeries. “Meeting other wish kids is really empowering because, even though you probably have different diseases, you realize that other kids face medical things too and you feel like you’re not alone,” she said.
But the good effects aren’t just limited to feel good. There is power in a wish! Wishes are an important part of total patient care and have a significant impact on the child’s health. In fact, Make-A-Wish has gathered extensive survey data indicating that health – mental, emotional and physical – improves for children who received a wish.
Working as a Make-A-Wish volunteer still affects the way she perceives her own medical condition. “I feel like being a wish granter is like a constant reminder of my wish, and it has changed my own perspective about living with my disease,” Alyssa mused. “It’s amazing to see the resilience of these wish families and the joy they feel when the wish kids talk about what they want to do.”
“I know that my wish improved my quality of life, but I think granting wishes has too!”
Every year, one in four seriously ill children in our community does not receive a wish because of a lack of funding. In other words, we can’t grant a wish to all the children who qualify because we don’t have the money or the capacity. Twenty-five percent of local children who qualify for our services are going without a wish right now simply because we are underfunded. Your gift will help our local Make-A-Wish chapter set a course to reach those children and grant their wishes.