Middle Tennessee Kids Wish Upon a Star
Wishing upon a star is a favorite thing to do as dusk turns into night. What if, instead of thinking of yourself, you could wave a magic wand and make a dream come true for someone whose life expectancy is short? Wouldn’t that be a great way to start the new year? The Make-a-Wish Foundation does just that – granting wishes to children under 18 suffering from life-threatening medical conditions.
On January 19, 2013, Stars for Wishes shines the bright lights of celebrities on a major fundraising benefit for Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee. This inaugural event is designed as an opportunity for celebrities and the local community to support Middle Tennessee wish kids in a “Boots and Bling” evening at The Factory in Franklin on the south side of Nashville.
The Middle Tennessee chapter grants more than 100 wishes annually – not just to make dreams come true, but as a source of inspiration and encouragement to children undergoing difficult medical treatments. A wish experience is often a life-changing catalyst that rekindles a child’s belief in themselves and inspires the families to find joy in the moments.
Stars for Wishes will feature performances by pop and country music stars, stories of amazing wishes being granted in the local community, and guest chef for the dinner will be a personality from the Food Network. Various levels of sponsorship include tickets to the Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee benefit, but the worldwide organization is also made up of a network of around 25,000 volunteers who serve as wish granters, fundraisers, special events assistants and numerous other roles. Anyone can take a part in spreading angel dust in the lives of children struggling with adversity.
Meet 15-year-old Peyton Gwinn, who has Hodgkins Lymphoma. His family’s dream trip of a Caribbean cruise was cancelled when he was diagnosed with the terminal illness and underwent surgery to remove the tumor. A year after his surgery, Make-A-Wish sent the family on a cruise where Peyton swam with stingrays in the Caymans and rode horses with his family along a Jamaica ocean beach. “The islands, the ports of call and the excursions were incredible and helped us return to being a normal family,” shared his mother Julie. “The cruise helped us all heal.”
And then there is 11-year-old Shelby Gregg. An unknown progressive neuro-muscular condition has confined her to a wheelchair because she is not able to walk by herself, although she can swim unassisted. When no longer able to continue her aqua therapy at Vanderbilt, Shelby dreamed of having her own swimming pool so she could be free from the limitations of life in a wheelchair.
After waiting 2 years, her wish was granted at her very own “Shelby Make a Wish” Pool Party, where she was able to invite all of her friends over to share in the joy. She now does aqua therapy at home with the support of family and friends.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been granting wishes like these since 1980. Professionals, parents or children themselves submit referrals and are eligible for a wish if a life-threatening progressive, degenerative or malignant condition is diagnosed in a child aged between 2 ½ and 18. Passionate volunteers then discover the child’s one true wish and set about fulfilling the dream.
What would you like to do to make a difference in a child’s life? The Make-A-Wish Foundation is looking for volunteers to help children’s wishes come true!