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Board Testimonials

John Scanlon

I believe in Make-A-Wish and know that the power of wish is true every time.

Once all three of my children graduated college, or actually, more specifically, once I was done paying for all secondary education, I knew I needed to move on to another chapter of my life.  After attending a state convention and listening to Make-A-Wish employee Kim Smith speak about Make-A-Wish, I knew I needed to know more.  When I completed wish grantors class, I became a wish grantor. This experience, honestly, after having my hearing-impaired daughter graduate college, is one of the most gratifying things I have ever done.

I have been a wish grantor for three years now and recently was elected to their Board of Directors.  One of the Make-A-Wish slogans is “the power of a wish….”  I have lived this numerous times granting the wishes of children with life treating illnesses throughout CT; I have experienced how dramatic the power of a wish is.  I have had a dad cry on my shoulder and tell me, “I have gone to work and church my entire life and this is the first time god has ever given me anything.”  I have been there when a boy with a heart condition requested to become a US citizen. When I asked why, he responded with, “So I can get on the heart transplant list.” After he received his new heart, we had our grant party and I asked him another question: “What is the biggest difference in your life?” His answer was spontaneous. He explained, “For the first time in my life, I was able to go to gym class.” Powerful stuff!  I could go on and on, but my point is that there is power in a wish. It gives ill kids something to focus on besides doctors, hospitals, appointments, etc.

I am passionate about the power of a wish and speak about it constantly. While getting my haircut and telling Make-A-Wish stories, my hair dresser wanted to know who to talk to and how to get involved. Circa two years later, we run a fashion show at a local car dealership; all of the models are Make-A-Wish kids. They get their makeup, nails, and hair done in the back room. They are then are delivered to the front of the dealership and walk the red carpet, complete with paparazzi taking pictures and yelling their names.  Then they go back to change into their dresses or shirt and ties.  Their names are announced on the runway and they walk out and back to cheering crowds.  I have had both Make-A-Wish participants and their families tell me how important this is to them and ask if they can do it again next year. We have donated over $40,000 in two years running the fashion show.

The volunteers I have met through Make-A-Wish are some of the most amazing, generous people you have ever met.  There are various positions which one can volunteer for and all are true to the cause, knowing that what they do is making someone’s life better.  I believe in Make-A-Wish and know that the power of wish is true every time.

Kevin Sinclair

When people are older, it is common to get sick. But when a child is sick, families and doctors turn to Make-A-Wish.

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.   

Kevin Sinclair
Board of Directors, Make-A-Wish® Connecticut

Keith Herzig

Once you get involved with Make-A-Wish, regardless of how you get involved, you become part of the Make-A-Wish family.

This is something that I have learned over the 17 years that I’ve been involved with Make-A-Wish Connecticut. My involvement started with fundraising, and six years ago I was asked to join the board. I now serve as the Board Chair and my relationship with Make-A-Wish has deepened and grown, just as the Connecticut chapter has grown over the time I’ve been involved.

17 years ago I founded Wishes on Wheels, an annual truck convoy to benefit Make-A-Wish Connecticut that has raised over $1 Million since it began. The idea started when I visited a friend of mine who ran a similar event for Make-A-Wish Massachusetts. This was the first time I heard that Make-A-Wish has individual chapters, and I wanted to get involved. After going to that event I thought, why can’t we do something like this for Connecticut? I came to a small group of friends that were all in the truck industry with the idea and they were on board, so I presented the idea to FedEx, a now-corporate sponsor, as well as to the law enforcement community. They all got on board and the event started small, and none of us had any clue that the event would grow to the incredible size it is today. Last year we had over 525 trucks in our convoy and dozens of wish kids got to ride alongside the drivers. It’s just amazing how powerful the Make-A-Wish brand is and how much it has grown.

It wasn’t until I joined the board that I really got involved in ways other than fundraising. Since I’ve been on the board, an amazing part of wish events is having the Wish Truck present. This monster truck, owned by board member Mark Haversat of Robbins Tesar, has been rebranded to Make-A-Wish to raise awareness for the foundation. We take it to parades, wish delivery parties, fairs, and all different events to add another element of fun and to bring more attention to the Make-A-Wish brand. I also recently went through Wish Granter training and will be going out on my first wish meeting next week. I’ve been to many wish delivery parties and have assisted with the execution of some wishes, but now I will be able to help grant them as well.

For many years, Make-A-Wish Connecticut granted around 150 wishes every year. The change that I have seen during my time on board is really incredible. Three years ago we went from 150 to 185 wishes, and then we went from 185 to 209. This year we were able to grant 240 wishes. In the last four years we have added staff and added to our board of directors, and we’ve had a huge increase in the number of volunteers and interns. With this increase in volunteers, we’ve been able to reach out and find more kids whose wishes we can grant. This year we are granting the most wishes ever in our history and we are confident that we will continue to grow. There has been huge change in the 17 years I’ve been involved, and though Make-A-Wish is not part of the cure, I’m happy that we are part of the treatment.

Keith Herzig
Board Chair, Make-A-Wish® Connecticut
Make-A-Wish® Connecticut
56 Commerce Drive
Trumbull, CT 06611
(203) 261-9044
Toll Free (877) 203-9474