That is why my company’s charitable organization, the Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving, has supported Make-A-Wish Connecticut with funding over the past ten years, and why after my first meeting with Make-A-Wish ten years ago, I drank the Kool-Aid.
The Make-A-Wish mission, "we grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy," intrigued me. After our first meeting and my commitment to support Make-A-Wish Connecticut with our first-year grant, I was asked to join the board.
I realized at my first board meeting that what brought the entire board together when making decisions were the kids and the mission we all support. I also realized that, unlike many charitable organizations whose donors are unsure of where their contributions will end up, with Make-A-Wish you know exactly where your donations are going and you know that you are helping the kids.
While speaking with wish parents I gathered that though the focus is on the wish child, the entire family receives hope, strength and joy when a wish is granted. In many cases parents have not had a break in years because their sick child is the priority. This is why when an entire family travels together or all participate in a wish, the whole family is uplifted and given hope.
There is not one day that passes that I do not talk about Make-A-Wish to anyone who will listen. I am proud to ask for help when I know the end result will be a sick child's wish being granted.
Time is a precious element of life, and I have gladly given my time and money over the past ten years to this great cause. I served my first six-year term on the Connecticut board and was the board chair for two of those years. When my first term limit was hit, I joined the Make-A-Wish America Governance Committee and continue to serve on this committee. I also chair the Connecticut Governance Committee, and last year I was brought back on the Connecticut board for what can be another six years. I don’t know how many hours I have spent on this great cause, but I do know I do not regret one minute spent on granting wishes.
I also have realized that a parents passion sometimes passes onto their family. I am blessed to have a great wife Lynne who has attended many of the MAW events with me and supported the time I have spent as well as the donations we personally made. In addition my 3 daughters Kelsey, Samantha, and Alex all have attended many MAW Events, supported MAW with tier own donations as well as time, such as chairing and being members of Wishes on Campus at U-conn, supporting programs from Univ of SC, and my oldest Kelsey becoming a wish granter on campus. Their focus, time and Money for Make a Wish has made me a proud husband and father.
As a final thought on the hope, strength and joy we give to the kids and families, I wanted to say that what goes around comes around. When I was serving as the board chair in 2009, I found out I had colon cancer. My life changed overnight as I underwent surgery and six months of chemotherapy. The day after I found out I was sick I found a picture of a wish child, a little four year-old girl who wanted to be a princess. Despite the effects of chemo, she was made into a princess. I cut that picture out and have had it in my wallet and shared it with so many people over the past seven and a half years. This simple picture made it easier for me to be sick, because every time I felt sorry for myself I looked at the picture and knew that if this wish child could handle it, so could I.
I thank Make-A-Wish and everyone who serves the mission and offers funding to the chapters for all of the hope, strength and joy they give to the families and wish kids that are so deserving.
Board of Directors, Make-A-Wish® Connecticut