The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Iowa has an ambitious goal for this year: to grant up to 170 wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions — that’s almost one wish every other day. Some kids wish for a trip to Disneyland or New York, while others long to see a NASCAR race up close. Brett Ridge, C-E-O of the Iowa chapter, says fulfilling the dreams of ailing children is rewarding for everyone involved.
Ridge says the agency does more than just trips, like if a child wants to “be” something for a day, they make the experience happen, or if they want a computer, a gaming system or a stereo, they can do that too — or just go on a shopping spree. The Iowa chapter was founded in 1987 and has fulfilled more than 17-hundred wishes, including opportunities to meet celebrities, singers, actors and sports heroes.
Ridge says a child might want musical equipment or art equipment, something that they might use down the road in a possible vocation. Ridge makes a distinction: the agency works to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re terminal.
Ridge says: “We do have a lot of our children who battle for their lives but they win that battle, so that keeps the fires burning and keeps you feeling good. As sad as it is when you lose a child, their families are often so touched by what happened with the wish that they become involved with the organization. They become volunteers for us long after the child is gone.” The majority of funding for Make-A-Wish comes from individual and corporate donations. For more information, visit Iowa Make a Wish Foundation website .