Wish-granting volunteer John Giacomi admits he’s still a kid at heart. “I didn’t ever grow up,” he said.
After John completed military service and spent nearly a decade in Mixed Martial Arts, he wanted to find something purposeful in his life. And he found the perfect way to give back: to help kids regain a bit of their childhood lost to critical illness. John became a wish-granting volunteer for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.
From his first wish, John was hooked. “After seeing the immediate, positive change in a kid’s attitude when they realize what a wish is all about, I became addicted,” John said.
John thrives on the opportunity to lift a child’s spirits and give them something to look forward to. This chance to make a difference really hit close to home when John met one of his wish kids, Ben. Ben wished to meet his favorite band, which also happens to be the first band John saw live.
“We met and had such an awesome rapport,” said John. “If we grew up at the same age and in the same town, he would be my best friend. And were we in the same situation, his wish is exactly what mine would have been.”
Now, John encourages everyone he knows to get involved. “The most common response I get is, ‘I don’t know if I could do that; it seems so sad.’” John said. “My experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Even though families are going through an extremely difficult situation, any sadness you expect when you meet these kids is instantly washed away when they smile at you.”
“The average person spends only about a third of their time doing what they want. The rest is spent working and sleeping. That’s not a lot of time to establish a true purpose,” John said. “Volunteering for Make-A-Wish has been an easy, fulfilling way for me to establish my purpose. I would recommend it to absolutely everybody.”
He’s even taken his commitment to Make-A-Wish a step further through his business, CM Heating. Under his leadership, the company has started a fundraising campaign to benefit Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington, but the program stretches far beyond that. “This campaign has been a win-win-win,” John said. “It has greatly increased our online reputation. It incentivizes customers to leave open and honest feedback so we can be a better company. And of course, it has resulted in contributions to Make-A-Wish.”
CM Heating also had the opportunity to grant a wish for a child who wished to have a specialized heating system.
“When you have a kid in a great deal of discomfort, feeling comfortable in their own home is certainly important and life-altering,” said John. “It truly improved the life of this child, and showed that companies, business owners and affiliates can be creative and make a true and honest difference.”
You, too, can make a difference in the lives of local children with critical illnesses. Become a wish-granting volunteer today!