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Chapter History

It was in June of 1985 that Bob Cleaveland and Greg Wong left Washington to attend a conference for life insurance investors. As they sat in a room with more than 5,000 others, these two unsuspecting individuals were on the verge of a decision that would change their lives and thousands of others. And, they didn't even know it.

Barely out of its infancy, representatives from an organization called Make-A-Wish presented an incredible story about a very ill child who wished to be a police officer for a day. The community rallied together to make his wish possible. But, the story didn't end there. Out of this one wish, an inspiring organization grew from zero to 50 chapters in just five years. They were seeking the help of others to make it blossom further.

Enter, Bob and Greg.

And Then There Were Three

It started with just the two of them, and then quickly a third, Penni Maples, joined their ranks to complete their motivated team.

In January of 1986, Make-A-Wish Washington was born. The three set up an answering machine in Bob's spare bedroom, talked to everyone they knew about the organization, and began accepting wish referrals, one child at a time.

Chapter Founders Greg Wong, Penni Maples and Bob Cleaveland

In the Beginning

It was just a handful of dedicated individuals who pulled together the organization we know today. For each of the founders, the beginning of the local chapter was a stirring time, experienced differently by all three.

Penni remembers their car trips south to Make-A-Wish Oregon, who played an instrumental role in helping our chapter get off the ground.In an odd twist of fate, Greg's own three-year-old son was diagnosed with Leukemia just a few years after he helped to cofound the chapter. His ties to Make-A-Wish then became even more meaningful as one of his fellow Make-A-Wish board colleagues became his son's physician.

Bob recalls one of the earliest wish kids: Armando, from Central Washington, who wished to meet the world famous WWE superstar: Hulk Hogan. He will never forget the moment Hulk wrapped his championship belt around Armando's waist. Inspiring memories like these propelled the local chapter to the success that it enjoys today.

Oh the Places We'll Go

Since its humble beginnings with a few dedicated friends and an answering machine in the bedroom, the local chapter has granted wishes to more than 7,000 children in the Northwest. At its start, the chapter took on six wishes in one year. This year, we will grant more than 360 wishes to local children in Alaska and Washington.

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Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington
811 1st Ave #620
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623-5300
Toll Free (800) 304-9474
Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington, Eastern Washington Office
104 S Freya St
Yellow Flag Bldg #207
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 458-2618
Toll Free (888) 790-7005
Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington, Alaska Office
430 W 7th Ave #110
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 258-9474
Toll Free (844) 510-9474