When Jessica Dingman found an internship for her undergraduate program, she had no idea what an impact it would have on her life.
She was studying to become a social worker and came across an internship with Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.
“It led me to pursue medical social work and pediatric oncology,” said Dingman of her time at Make-A-Wish. “My internship had a big impact on my career.”
Now, almost 10 years later, Dingman is a social worker in the pediatric hematology/oncology department at Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center. She continues to work with Make-A-Wish to make a big impact in the lives of others.
“It’s one of the many resources we offer families, but it’s my favorite because it’s so fun to play a role in helping a child’s wish come true during such a difficult time in their lives,” she said.
Wishes give the whole family something to look forward to; to take their minds off of treatment and what they are going through.
And, wishes help the medical team connect with patients in a way they couldn’t before “Seeing kids prepare for their wish and have such a positive experience is like seeing a whole different side of them,” she said. “It offers a glimpse of who they were before they got sick, and it’s really cool to see.”
When kids have something to look forward to, they’re more likely to comply with their treatment. In fact, 81 percent of wish parents observed an increased willingness by their wish kids to comply with treatment protocols. It’s something Dingman sees every day.
“Kids set goals because they know they want to be at a certain place for their wish,” she said. Whether that’s working to make sure they’re getting enough fluids so they can get their feeding tube out, or taking their medications regularly to stay healthy, having a wish to look forward to can make a big difference.
“These kids are going through so much,” she said. “Wishes give them hope. Any time there’s something to look forward to, it helps.”
Do you know that 1 in 4 children is not receiving a wish? If you know a child who might qualify, refer them today.