Getting married is an exciting, anxious time: The spouses-to-be are sucked into a whirlwind of flowers and cake, white tulle and photographers, music and stationery, and a seemingly endless array of decisions. The groom, bride, and their families enjoy the anticipation of the big day, and it was no different for 21-year-old Randy.
What was different for Randy was that he was fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His wish was to marry his girlfriend on the Oregon coast, but his doctors told him his prognosis was almost/near terminal, and travel would be impossible. Randy wouldn’t take no for an answer and responded with, “Well, I guess I have to get better then.” With his wish in the works, Randy felt hope for fighting his life-threatening illness.
Within months of being told he wouldn’t be able to travel, Randy’s counts were up and he was able to marry his fiancée on the Oregon beach. Against all odds, Randy is now cancer-free and has been for four years.There is no tangible data to explain the miracle of Randy’s life, but 89% of doctors, nurses, and health professionals believe that a wish experience can influence a person’s physical health.
Help us grant more wishes and provide hope to those experiencing life-threatening illnesses by donating today.
Many people don’t realize how hard it can be to navigate the world around them until they or someone they care for suffers from a life-threatening illness. Activities like entering and exiting a vehicle, getting into bed, going on walks, participating in family activities, and breathing quality air are a constant struggle for several of our Wishing Star families.
Wishing Star aims to make life easier for these people by increasing their quality of life.In fact, 1 in 5 of our Wishing Star families has been granted a wish that eases their daily struggles.Many of our children face life-long disabilities such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy. While a trip to Disneyland might not appeal to a child who is non-verbal and confined to a wheelchair, the gift of a van ramp so she can more easily leave the house with her family could make an enormous impact.
Twelve-year-old Abe suffered from a rare neurological condition (Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease) that prevented him from regulating his body temperature. In the warmer months, this condition was a struggle for Abe as his house did not have central air conditioning. His family’s wish was for him to have an air conditioning unit installed in the home. Abe had a wall unit in his bedroom at the time, which confined him to that one room of the house, away from the rest of his family. They wanted him to be able to spend time with them in the other living areas of the home. Being with his family in the main house was necessary to increase the family’s quality of life, and Wishing Star was proud to help grant their wish. You can learn more about Abe inthis YouTube video.
If you’d like to make life a little easier for children like Abe, please click the button below to make a secure online donation. Thank you for your support!
One of the many troubling aspects of having a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is the feeling of isolation.
Depending on the scope of the illness, parents find themselves lost in a flurry of doctor’s appointments, medical consultations, physical therapy sessions, and the never-ending task of wrapping their minds around their current situation. Friends and family struggle with finding ways to comfort their loved one, and the parents struggle with relating to those around them. Then the day comes when the child is referred to Wishing Star.Through the loneliness and isolation, a beacon of light appears.The parents meet with people who understand, people who can nod knowingly when they express frustration, people who can sense the tears are coming and have a box of tissues ready. These supportive people aren’t just Wishing Star employees; they are other families who are going through (or have been in) similar circumstances. These supportive people provide one another with a sense of community.
Through private gatherings and public events, our wish grantees support each other. Many give back to Wishing Star in other ways, whether it be volunteering at events or attending our fundraisers. Many more stay in touch years after their wish has been fulfilled.
Kim, whose daughter Maddie received a wish several years ago, had this to say: “Our hearts and lives were touched so deeply by the Wishing Star staff’s generosity that they have become family.My husband now sits on the Wishing Star board. Our middle daughter, Cassie (pictured right), has helped with a summer program for Wishing Star in the past. Maddie’s journey certainly helped mold each of us into more caring, compassionate people desiring to reach out to help support others. Thank you to Wishing Star for all you did for Maddie and continue to do for our family.”
To read more about our Beyond the Wish program and how it helps our families, click here. To provide financial support to keep the sense of community alive, please make a secure online donation by clicking the button below.
Langston Hughes’ well-known poem “Harlem” asks the question of what happens to a dream deferred. The unfulfilled dream is described as smelly, crusty, and saggy. The weight of the shelved dream bears down on a person and is a constant reminder of what will never be. This imagery is no more evident than in the eyes of a sick child, whose dream of tomorrow is bound by the realities of today.
When you support Wishing Star, you bring a sick child hope for future dreams. He gets to think about what he wants to be when he grows up. She gets to picture the places she’ll see. Imaginations run wild as the child hopes for the future, and the best part is that these children’s dreams really DO come true!
Eleven-year-old Tyler wanted to meet the heroes who responded to the September 11th attacks on New York City. Wishing Star arranged for him and his family to fly to NYC and meet countless firefighters who risked their lives that fateful time in 2001. Tyler became an honorary firefighter for the day, and he even got to meet the NYFD Chief. Because of his wish experience, Tyler wants to be a firefighter when he grows up-a dream that he’s held tightly for the past eight years since his wish.
Wishing Star has made it easier than ever to help make a sick child’s dream come true. With our Circle of Friends program, you can make automatic monthly donations that will help a child like Tyler see his dreams come alive. Please click the “DONATE” button below to make a donation and sign up for our e-newsletters.
YOU can provide hope in a seemingly hopeless time. YOUcan inspire a child to plan for the future. YOUcan take a child’s deferred dream, dust it off, and witness something truly amazing: a dream fulfilled.
We can sometimes forget how easy many of us have it. Our worries may revolve around buying a new pair of running shoes, getting to work on time, finding the perfect birthday present for a friend, or whether your child will get good grades this quarter.
But imagine if your worries included the dilemma of whether to pay your mortgage or a huge hospital bill for your child’s chemotherapy.Or getting to a doctor’s appointment on time, finding the perfect wheelchair that fits in your car, or whether your child will get good results on his next blood test. Your life would be a lot more chaotic and tense, which is why Wishing Star brings relief from everyday medical stresses experienced by families that have a child with a life-threatening condition.
Six-year-old Quinn’s mother and father would love it if they only had to worry about writing out a grocery list. Instead, their lives are consumed with doctor appointments, hospital stays, medication treatments, and blood testing. Quinn suffers from a mitochondrial disorder that gives him a life expectancy of only about 12 years. His parents constantly worry about his health, future, and how much time they’ll have left with their precious son.
Unfortunately, all of this stress hurt Quinn’s siblings and the family as a whole. When Quinn was referred to Wishing Star, his parents were keeping him in a figurative bubble, afraid to do anything that might risk his already-fragile health. All of that changed, however, almost 1,500 miles away on the sunny beaches of Southern California.
Quinn and his family went on a wish trip to San Diego in the summer of 2012. With nothing on their agenda but having fun, the family enjoyed playing on the beach, sightseeing along the coast, riding in a helicopter, and swimming with dolphins. This trip gave the family a break from all of the medical stresses that surrounded them, and Quinn’s parents realized that by placing all of their focus on keeping their son healthy, they had unintentionally hurt their family.
After returning home, Quinn’s parents vowed that their family would make it a priority to have more fun. They planned weekly family dates with the sole purpose of enjoying each others company. As Quinn’s mother puts it,“I want Quinn’s life to be a celebration, and our job is to love him until it’s time to let him go.”
We know that most people can’t afford to give thousands of dollars to grant a wish; that’s why we’re not asking you to do that. Instead we’re asking you to forgo a latte four times a month, and commit the money you save to Wishing Star. Please become a part of ourCircle of Friendsmonthly giving program and help sick kids (and their families) get relief from their medical stresses.
Some people may wonder what exactly Wishing Star does and why we do it. In the weeks ahead, we will be posting five blogs answering these questions and providing real examples of our Wishing Star grantees.
Over the coming weeks, you’ll learn how Wishing Star:
• provides relief from everyday medical stresses, • inspires hope for the future, • offers a sense of community, • improves the quality of life, and • brings hope for fighting life-threatening illnesses.
Stay tuned, and thank you for supporting Wishing Star!
When you think of a wish, what first pops into your head? Maybe Barbara Eden in her harem costume, the opening credits of “Pinocchio,” or candles burning on a birthday cake. The point of the wish is always the same: When you make a wish, it will immediately come true. But Wishing Star’s wishes can take months or even years to come to fruition.
So, why isn’t wish fulfillment as easy as rubbing a lamp?
Because Wishing Star builds lasting relationships with wish kids and their families and orchestrates the wish over time. In short, a wish experience doesn’t begin when a family hands plane tickets to a gate agent. It starts months before and lasts well beyond that moment. The relationship we develop with wish kids and families while we plan their wish is what makes the Wishing Star experience so special.
When a child is referred to Wishing Star, it might be the first glimmer of hope and excitement that he or she has experienced in a long time. Once a child is added to our wish list, we arrange a visit at her home or hospital. This first meeting is all about getting to know the child and her family, and we ask questions about her dreams and passions. Sometimes a kid knows exactly what he wants, like Sheldon, who wanted to customize his truck. But other young people need some time to think about it. Whatever the situation, we give the child as much time and space as he needs to imagine his perfect wish.
Once a child has described all the details of her perfect wish, our orchestration begins. It can take months to arrange every detail. Then comes the day that the child’s wish is granted, but the experience has just begun. Our motto is “Once a wish family, always a wish family,” and we mean it! We welcome wish kids and their families at all of our “Beyond the Wish” events, stay in touch with annual birthday cards, and connect them with others we have served. It’s true that we can’t grant a wish immediately, but we think it’s better this way. Would tossing a coin in a fountain result in a lifetime of friendship and support?
In June 1985, sweet 5-year old Jennifer was granted her wish to become a nurse. Having battled Cystic Fibrosis since birth, Jennifer grew up to admire the nurses who loved and took care of her everyday of her life. A volunteer hand-made Jennifer’s nurses outfit for her big day- a local nurse donated her own nurse’s cap for Jennifer to wear. An official “Capping ceremony” was held at a local college where Jennifer was given a bouquet of red roses and her very first patient to take care of- a teddy bear with a bandaged leg. Her mom, Carolyn, recently reached out to us and shared more about the impact Jennifer’s wish had on her young life. “From that day on she was “Nurse Jennifer- Pediatric Hostess”. It was her “job” to go and visit the new kids and show them around. She had a little red wagon in her room with her toys and she would take her wagon around and let the other kids have one of her toys. The nurses saw what she was doing and made sure that there were always toys in her wagon. Her doctor would call her at the hospital and ask her if she could do rounds with him and she would put on her nurses uniform and go with him as he checked on his young patients… Wishing Star made such a difference in her life. It is amazing where Wishing Star has gone since that day. Thank you!!!”. Young Jennifer passed away in 1987, just 2 years after her wish was granted. What an amazing impact she had in this world!
In 1983, 7 year old Patrick was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer. Wishing Star was a newly founded organization, with only 3 wishes having been granted. Patrick passionately wished to go to Disneyland. In May 1984, just after his 8th birthday, his parents, two brothers, and baby sister joined him on his wish trip to California!
It has been over 30 years since Patrick’s wish. Sadly, Patrick passed away only 9 days after returning from his wish trip. This Fall, Wishing Star had the opportunity to reconnect with Patrick’s parents and sister over lunch. Patrick’s parents, Floyd and Nancy, shared how much of an impact the wish still has on their family all these years later. They shared how Disneyland had opened the park just for them so they could have breakfast with the characters. Patrick was able to ride on his favorite attraction– Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again. Wishing Star even had a plane lined up at the local military base in case Patrick needed to be transferred home in an emergency. Even through all the pain, Patrick had an amazing time on his wish and would not stop talking about it to anyone who would listen!
Patrick’s sister, Marissa, shared how much meeting with Wishing Star 30 years later meant to their family. “Thank you so much for the opportunity to reconnect and share our memories; it was wonderful! The work you do is so important and touches so many people….for a lifetime! We are feeling grateful, blessed, and very, very FULL!”
Since Patrick’s wish to go to Disneyland, 1,244 other children with life-threatening illnesses have received the power of a wish. “It is really heartwarming to reconnect with a family whose lives we touched over 30 years ago,” stated Brittany Bergsson, Development Director. “You know that your investment in Wishing Star is important and makes a difference, but to have a family after 30 years, continue to express how thankful they are to our organization– it just goes to show that your donation toward a wish is not just 7 days in Disneyland, your donation is a lifetime of memories and happiness.”
As of December 2014 Wishing Star has 13 children in the process of having their wishes granted. The impact of a wish is something that will remain long after the holidays are over. This holiday season, you have an amazing opportunity to help change the life of a child and their family– forever. We need your help to make sure that EVERY child receives the magic of a wish. Please consider changing a child’s life and making a donation today.
A few months ago we put out a call for help in granting an expedited wish. Sheldon’s osteosarcoma was taking its toll and his hope and spirits were low. Sheldon’s wish to customize his truck was granted on Saturday, May 17 only one week after he was told his cancer was terminal. With the help of Custom Truck in Spokane and many wonderful donors, he received a bumper/grill, light bars, steps, air intake system, stereo, and more!!
For a moment in time, Sheldon was able to just be a 20 year old boy again and not worry about cancer. At one point he even grabbed his new bumper and said, “All I know is I can pretty much hit anything with this now”. Due to the progression of the cancer, Sheldon lost the use of both his legs the day before his wish was granted. His best friend Robbie was there to chauffeur Sheldon away from his party in style. Sheldon was not about to let cancer stop him from enjoying his new ride and hand controls were installed shortly after. He is now driving his own truck with his friends and family.
To top off a very touching weekend, Sheldon married the love of his life, Athina the day after his wish was granted- embracing life to the fullest.