Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Charity Chosen!

I wanted to choose a charity that met the following criteria: local, worthy and one that everyone can relate to. The day itself is going to be a huge challenge for me, and my goal was to choose a cause worthy of the support of everyone that will be supporting me.

I had come across the Make-A-Wish foundation during my time in Florida, where several kids wishes came true by visiting Disneyland. So when I sat down to consider charities for this challenge, it didn't take long to think of them.

Make-A-Wish Foundation UK is a charity with a single purpose – granting magical wishes to children and young people aged 3-17 fighting life-threatening conditions.

Make-A-Wish has granted more than 7,300 magical wishes over 25 years. Over 20,000 children in the UK are living with a life-threatening condition, a figure validated by research commissioned by Make-A-Wish. At a human level, few things can be more important, or more deserving, than giving a seriously ill child the chance to have their wish come true, with all the hope, expectation and happiness that brings.

This year alone 1,400 children will turn to us to have their special wish granted. And we want to grant a wish to every one of these.

For many families the Make-A-Wish memory can be the last happy memory they have of their child having fun in a magical world, surrounded by family and friends – rather than memories of days and weeks of painful treatments and hospitalisation. The memory of the wish may be of their child laughing and enjoying being a princess or zoo keeper for the day or meeting a favourite celebrity. In years to come, the family can look back and remember that special time.

Make-A-Wish is expert in wishgranting; it is all that they do, each and every day. At present they are granting around 75 wishes a month and their ambition is to grant 85 wishes every month by the end of 2012. To do this, they need to raise at least £6.8 million this year.

Make-A-Wish Foundation UK was launched in June 1986 and for the first six years we operated from offices above a shop in Camberley, Surrey. We are still in Camberley today. Four wishes were granted in the first year, 13 in the second and by the end of the third year, 100 wishes had been granted.

Here is some stories of milestone wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation:

The very first wish was for Anthony from Liverpool who, with his family, went to meet the Disney characters in Disney World, Florida.

The 100th wish in 1989 was also the first wish to be granted in Scotland. 16 year old Clark from Balerno wished to go on a US aircraft carrier and see an F14 jet. This very exciting wish took place in the Mediterranean only two weeks before Heads of State joined the ship for a summit meeting.

In November 1989 the first wish in Wales was granted. 14 year old Louise from Rhyl went with her family to experience all the sights and thrills of Disney World, Florida.

Also that month, the first wish in Northern Ireland was granted. 16 year old Gary from Benburb wished to visit his uncle who worked at Disneyland, California. Very sadly, Gary died a short while after his wish.

1,000th Wish – Jessica, aged 10 and from Grimsby, had her wish, to meet the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, granted at a very special occasion – the 10th anniversary party of Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK. The huge Beast, as tall as the ceiling, entered the room carrying a red rose. He approached Jessica, who was dressed in her pretty yellow Beauty dress, and invited her onto the dance floor. There wasn't a dry eye in the room!

5,000th Wish – 10 year old Ciara from Wigan, living with a Brain Tumour, had her wish granted in August 2008 when she was a model for the day in London.

7,000th wish – 16 year old Marcus from Goole, a keen physiscs student, lives with a Brain Tumour. He had an unusual wish – he wanted to visit CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) in Geneva. Marcus was able to meet some very distinguished physicists during a vist that was arranged in August 2011 with the help of colleagues from Make-A-Wish Switzerland.

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