Sometimes in life, we tend to lose sight of what is important, for me it's been a crazy couple of months with my senior, gala activities, work and my 2012 fitness goals. There is little that I can say to convey my overwhelming feeling of contentment after the past few weeks; it was filled with a great deal of work; love; and happiness; mixed with a small amount of tears. This year was an exceptional year for a number of reasons, but most of all, because I was able to share my night with several people I love, friends and family alike…it was a year for just having a good time, savoring the moment and letting the inner child in me flow... it's one that will forever capture the hearts and souls of those lucky enough to share this night and my love of Make A Wish.
For me, in the beginning Make A Wish was purely a selfish venture, my life fell apart in late 2006 and my life coach the best way to improve my outlook on life is to volunteer my time with something I believe in, and so I did. Even though the timing was awful, it changed my life forever. Soon after attending my Wish Granter training I was assigned my first wish, an amazing wish actually... Ricardo was 18 at the time and wanted to play the drums with Coldplay... he waited patiently for 2 years to receive his wish, but he knew that they would grant it. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to join the Gala Committee, which I eagerly accepted. Little did I know, the work that would be involved, at times it was overwhelming and wanted to quit, or give up my position in the committee, but I stayed with it and the night of the event I realized it was all worth it.
Wish Night, is the annual Gala for the North Texas Make A Wish Foundation, which is the fastest growing chapter in the nation. Its goal is to raise money to fulfill wishes for over 500 wish kids annually, which services the entire North Texas area, from Lubbock to Longview, all the way up passed Amarillo, we cover it all. The gala attendees range from local business owners, T.V. personalities and Wish Families, all dressed in formal evening attire, all there for one purpose, to make wishes come true. It's an all volunteer staff, there are the core gala committee chairs (approximately 25), then there are hundreds of volunteers for the actual event, helping set up for auction, stuff party favor bags, make sure the decorations are out and help with guest registration. First timers are in awe of everything that goes into preparing for the event, which is attended by over 1,000 people annually.
Wishes can range from anything as simple as a room makeover, to a day at the White House, or CIA. Some of the wish kids wish to go to Disneyworld, or Hawaii, some just want to take a train, or meet someone famous. To some these wishes seem insignificant to life, but for these kids, this is life, it gives them something to look forward too, memories to have outside of hospitals and doctor's offices, it gives their parents a week, or a day where they can see their child smiling and know that they have forgotten about the aches and pains, about the shots and pills, they can be kids, even if it’s just for a day. Make A Wish handles everything, the parents just have to show up and enjoy the happiness, there is no burden, or stress on them, and they are allowed to breathe easy and relax and enjoy their child's joy.
Unfortunately, when people hear the words "Make A Wish," they immediately associate it with, death, but in actuality 80% of our recipients, go on to lead healthy active lives, the only qualifications needed to be a recipient is to
have a life threatening illness, not a terminal illness. The feeling you get being involved in Make A Wish, is indescribable, you talk to other volunteers, participants, or attendees, they all have the same feeling; there is no other charity like this one. Everyone is there for the same purpose, with pure hearts and wanting to do everything humanly possible to take the burden off a child, even if it's just for a short time.
My words will never relay the fulfillment that I feel by being involved, nor will it ever be explainable... knowing that I helped Matthew go on his wish of a lifetime to dogsled in Alaska, or listen to Zander share his idea of his perfect wish…or see one of Janvi’s paintings, or even witness Ricardo playing the drums with one of my favorite bands, it’s like Christmas every day, only a 1,000 times happier.
I hope you enjoy these clips...
Janvi Shahi – Artist extraordinaire
Ricardo and Coldplay