Local Make-A-Wish chapter continues to grant wishes for Utah children in needJun 02, 2023 01:09PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Make-A-Wish Utah celebrated the success of its month long Drive for Wishes initiative and announced the wish of a 5-year-old battling leukemia during a special event at A Wishing Place in Murray on April 27. The organization’s most significant fundraising and media campaign, Drive for Wishes, is a month-long initiative that brings wish experiences to specific communities while generating excitement about transforming children’s lives through the power of a wish.
Partnering with Strong Auto, the organization donates the lease of two vehicles for April that staff uses to traverse the state and complete wish-granting activities throughout different communities in Utah. With the community’s support, the initiative successfully raised enough funds to grant 80 wishes, exceeding the goal set for this year’s campaign.
Kelsey DeTimmaso, director of marketing and communications with Make-A-Wish Utah, shared more about the Drive for Wishes initiative, explaining that the organization worked with specific communities throughout the state to plan activities for wish families in their areas. Fundraisers for the campaign were crafted uniquely for each partner and ranged from employee donations at participating organizations to online fundraisers hosted by individual supporters.
During the event, the organization’s partners surprised 5-year-old wish kid Timmy with the news that his wish to go to Walt Disney World would officially be granted.
“Timmy was diagnosed with leukemia in the fall of 2021. After years of treatments to combat his cancer, Timmy is healthy enough to travel and has wished to have a trip to visit Walt Disney World. His wish will be granted later this year, and Timmy looks forward to seeing all the characters from his favorite show, ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,’ and visiting Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. During our Drive for Wishes wrap up event last week, the Utah Jazz Bear and Batman helped surprise Timmy with the news that his wish will officially be granted by Make-A-Wish Utah,” DeTimmaso said.
Regarding the new miniseries called “Wish Cab,” DeTimmaso explained that several campaign sponsors paired with local influencers to ride in one of the wish cars and answer trivia questions parodying the popular TV show “Cash Cab.”
“However, in our version, every wrong answer triggered a $1,000 donation to the organization. This series will debut on social media this month, and we hope to bring awareness of Make-A-Wish Utah to our influencers’ many followers,” DeTimmaso said.
Make-A-Wish Utah granted 213 wishes for Utah children in FY22 and plans to grant 230 this year.
“We are currently granting a wish roughly every other day, all of which have a life-changing impact on the families involved,” DeTimmaso said. “One fun wish reveal we hosted during the Drive for Wishes campaign was for wish kid Ezra, 9, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 7. After years of aggressive treatment impacting Ezra’s life-sustaining functions, Ezra’s tumor has shrunk but left him with vision impairments. Ezra has always loved to be outdoors and drew on this for his inspiration to visit Smoky Mountain National Park. Last month, local firefighters, park rangers and Smokey the Bear helped us tell Ezra his wish was officially coming true. He hopes to do many adventurous things during his wish trip, like hiking, horseback riding, river floating, biking, even zip-lining.”
DeTimmaso expressed gratitude for the community’s support and contributions to the initiative, saying, “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from our community and our partners, who help make wishes come true for local Utah children. Their generosity, hard work and passion have allowed us to continue transforming the lives of local children with critical illnesses.”
According to DeTimmaso, there are many ways to get involved with Make-A-Wish Utah, from fundraising online to inspiring your workplace to support a wish. Students can connect their schools to MAWU’s Kids for Wish Kids program, which creates a platform for schools and universities nationwide to donate their time and creativity to plan fundraising campaigns to grant wishes for children in their community. Make-A-Wish currently needs wish-granting volunteers. Those interested can learn more at wish.org/Utah/volunteers. λ