For children who battle life threatening medical conditions like cancer, leukemia, cystic fibrosis, liver and kidney disease, heart abnormalities, and other childhood diseases, Make-A-Wish provides a magical experience to help them cope with their illness and its treatment.
While this scary COVID-19 pandemic is occurring, these children continue to battle their critical health conditions and diseases and necessarily have become more isolated. These children need the power and hope of their most heartfelt wish now more than ever.
Last year Make-A-Wish granted more than 80 wishes and were on track to granting nearly 85 this year. However, due to the corona virus stay-at-home order, no travel, and no large group gatherings, Make-A-Wish has had to postpone 38 wishes originally planned for this spring and summer.
There are four types of wishes for children including: To Go, which usually is a family trip to a special place giving lasting memories; To Meet someone special in their lives — an actor, performer, sports figure, scientist, a role model; To Give something special to someone else, giving back to a community they love; and To Have something important to themselves and their families to make life a bit easier.
“To adjust to our new COVID-19 mandates for social distancing and protecting each other, and to continue to achieve our mission, we continue to grant wishes to children who dream for things like a computer, playset, shopping spree, or room makeover,” said Pattie Mullins, CEO of Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties (MAWTC).
“During this time of crisis, it is more important now than ever to deliver hope that supports both psychological and medical recovery of our wish kids,” Mullins said.
MAWTC is still partnering and receiving referrals from Cottage Hospital, Sansum, private doctors, nonprofit partners, and families and has about 40 children on its waiting list.
Staff and volunteers are currently working to granting those “To Have” (non-travel) wishes. These wishes are for things like electronics, which help kids stay connected and continue school, and other wishes to have a playset, a room makeover, a bed or a garden.
Make-A-Wish staff are staying in contact with donors, partners, volunteers and families, and have spent hours undoing the travel plans for numerous travel-related wishes that had been scheduled. Staff members have created a virtual format for wish family meetings, and have established home offices for staff members.
Like many other organizations, Make-A-Wish has seen a sharp decrease in direct giving and most of its fundraising activities have been cancelled or postponed for this year. MAWTC financial support comes from the individuals, foundations and business partners within our community, all of which are being directly impacted by COVID-19.
“Donations have seen a sharp decrease; third-party fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed and several large fundraising event cancellations will create a large shortfall this year,” Mullins said. “We are doing everything we can including cutting non-essential expenses and not filling vacant positions but we still need the community’s support to deliver our mission and grant wishes.”
To make a gift to help these vulnerable children, visit https://tri-counties.wish.org.
“We are excited to kick off our 35th Anniversary Wish Heroes fundraising,” Mullins said. “This local campaign will focus on raising awareness and support from our community to grant the wishes for sick kids who are waiting on wishes. 35 Wish Heroes comprised of volunteers, donors, families and business partners will lead this campaign in honor of our 35 years of supporting the community.”
For more information about Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties, contact David Edelman firstname.lastname@example.org, 805-252-3786, or Mullins at email@example.com or 805-676- 9474.
Founded in 1985, Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties has granted 1,900 wishes to children in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. For more, visit tri-counties.wish.org.