The Iowa Chapter of an organization know for helping kids at a tough time in their lives is turning 20 this year. Brett Ridge, the executive director of the Iowa Make-A-Wish Foundation, says the group grants the wishes of kids who have "life threatening" medical conditions.
Ridge says the kids have to be between the ages of two-and-a-half and 18 years of age. And he says the disease the kids suffer from does not have to be a terminal disease for their wish to be grants. Ridge says the wishes provide a good experience during a tough time.
Ridge says in some cases the wish is a break from the treatment the kids are going through, and also for their families that come along. He says others have their wish granted after treatment and the wish gives them some light at the end of the tunnel as they go through a tough time.
Ridge says they’ve grant over 1,700 wishes in the 20 years, and that has increased each year. Last year Ridge says they grant 164 wishes, which he says is close to the number of kids who would qualify. Ridge says they plan to hold some special events to mark their 20th anniversary, including events at the Iowa State Fair in August.
Ridge says they’ll do some fun things at the fair to mark the anniversary. He says they have 12 different metro areas where committees meet to grant wishes and set up fundraisers, and Ridge says each of those areas is planning on celebration events too. Ridge says some of the diseases that qualified kids for the program have changed, and others have been added through the two decades.
Ridge says they’d hope to go out of business someday, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Ridge says that there are many diseases now that they know the kids have a much better chance of survival, which makes he says , makes it nice to know that the kids can survive and continue their lives.
The average cost of granting a wish is about $7,500 and the foundation holds all kinds of fundraisers. A fundraiser gala is planned for April 21st in West Des Moines. To learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation or for more information about April’s gala event, visit the Iowa chapter’s website .