Elementary school Speech-Language Pathologist and Make-A-Wish volunteer, Kelly Harvill, shares her unique experience and what led her to commit more than 17 years of her life to volunteering with our organization.
I decided that I wanted to be a part of Make-A-Wish when one of my special needs preschool students was going to get a wish. I was asked to come to her house for the meeting with her wish granting volunteers, as Colleen did not speak and I had recently developed a non-speaking communication system for her.
Colleen LOVED Mickey Mouse, and she was very excited about her upcoming 4th birthday. When we showed her a catalog that had pictures of Mickey Mouse in it, she kept looking at the picture of Mickey in a birthday hat. The volunteers asked Colleen if she wanted Mickey at her birthday party. Colleen beamed. They then told her that Mickey didn't like to fly on planes, so he couldn't come to her, but she and her family could go visit him at his home in Walt Disney World® Resort! None of us could believe this! As I watched the experience unfold for Colleen and her family, I knew that I had to be a part of this organization."
From meeting Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, to traveling to Disneyland® and Hawaii, Kelly has granted more than 33 wishes but, her favorite was for then three-year-old Sterling, who wanted to be a Seattle Seahawk.
The Seahawk organization had a child-sized regulation uniform made for Sterling, complete with his name on the back of his jersey, and the smallest shoulder pads I had ever seen. Watching Sterling walk out to center field for the coin toss at the King Dome, grasping Warren Moon's outstretched finger, was so touching. And the topper was when Sterling's favorite player, Joey Galloway, caught a touchdown pass right in front of our end zone seats, then ran out of the end zone and passed the ball to Sterling, who took it all in stride as if they play had been practiced. Priceless."
There are many magical moments throughout the wish granting process but, Kelly says the best is, "watching the smiles on the faces of our wish children and their families when we tell them, 'Sure, we can make that happen!' ... and then knowing that they really have no idea of the wonders that are ahead of them."