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Make-A-Wish Foundation: Making a Difference

 “I will never forget his authentic, beaming smile  when he first viewed his new puppy.

Ed had recently finished his third phase of intensive treatment regimen

and that smile was the first genuine ‘light-up-the-room’ smile I had witnessed

on his face in quite honestly half a year.  It is a moment that is etched in my memory.”

- This quote is from a mom regarding her son’s wish moment.

A great organization I have been involved with that unquestionably makes a difference in a child’s life is Make-A-Wish Michigan, a charity that has been granting wishes for critically ill children for over 35 years. We all have seen the smiles on faces of children who have experienced their dream wish coming true with the help of dedicated volunteers and donors. Participation in making a wish come true not only impacts wish kids but also has an impact on volunteers, donors, sponsors, medical professionals and our communities. A parting comment from Ed’s mom that inspired me,

“Make-A-Wish reaches out, gives the child access to a dream. Make-A-Wish is a light during what can be a dark time. Make-A-Wish isn’t only about the end gift, but the inspiring pursuit along the way.”        

As we all know the COVID pandemic has harshly impacted many fund-raising activities this year and Make-A-Wish Michigan is no exception. The in-person hike planned for September has now been changed to a virtual event, but the goal remains the same - to raise vital funds to help make wishes come true for Michigan children battling critical illnesses. The Virtual Trailblaze Challenge 2020 is a 21 mile walk or hike that will take place over the weekend of September 11-13, 2020. The good news is that you can do it wherever you live.

There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to participate.

There are more than 800 Michigan children waiting for their wishes, and we can help bring hope to many of them at a time when they need it most. I plan to sponsor a team and know many of the Steed clan will be participating. To learn more about how you can register as a virtual hiker and help grant transformational wishes for children in

If you want to participate with the Steed Clan, we would love to have you join us.

Volunteering is critically important in helping bring wishes to life. There is a process to make sure the experience for the children is exceptional. Potential volunteers go through a phone interview and background check before becoming an active Make-A-Wish volunteer.

The Make-A-Wish team is available to answer any questions or address any concerns that you may have. Volunteer opportunities include Wish-Granting Volunteers, Special Events Volunteers, and Office Volunteers. Wish-granting volunteers are needed right now to be matched with other volunteers to work with kids and their families regarding heartfelt 

conversations to create a memorable wish.

They ask that two trained volunteers meet with the kids and their families to help capture the child’s wish and enhance the wish throughout the process. You are also asked to help coordinate shopping adventures, and either a sendoff, wish reveal or welcome home party.

Wish granting volunteers must be 21 years of age, attend a wish-granting training, and be able to commit to at least one year of volunteering. Speaking with Christy Schulte, Communications and Public Relations Manager, she recently told me the training session is just a one-time/two hour session. That seems very reasonable given the importance and enjoyment that comes with working with wish families.

Importantly, due to the COVID pandemic, all communications with the families are virtual, making this important participation available for anyone to play a part. If you would like more information on becoming a volunteer with the team or to attend an upcoming virtual training, please email Megan,

An easy way to support Make-A-Wish without having to make a cash donation is through donating your airline miles.Your donation of Delta or United airline miles today will be generously matched by Make-A-Wish Michigan’s volunteer Board of Directors and Leadership Advisory Council for up to 1 million airline miles. Christy indicated that there are kids waiting for transportation today to complete their dream wish. We can all make a difference today and I bet many of you have a few miles to contribute to a great cause. It is important to note that airline miles never expire so let’s double check our saved miles. If you have any questions about donating miles, please email Hannah,

Make-A-Wish accepts referrals from:

● Children being treated for a critical illness

● Medical professionals

(typically a doctor, nurse, social worker or child-life


● Parents or legal guardians

● Family members with detailed knowledge of the child’s current medical


To be eligible, children must meet these criteria at the time of the referral:

● Diagnosed with a critical illness, i.e., a progressive, degenerative or

malignant condition that is placing the child’s life in jeopardy

● Older than 2 1⁄2 years and younger than 18

● Has not received a wish from another wish-granting organization

So what can a child wish for?

The child’s imagination is always the driving force in determining, designing, and

coordinating a life-altering wish experience.

Most wishes fall into five major categories:

I wish to go... travel related theme park for example

I wish to be... fireman, police officer, or superhero.

I wish to meet... favorite athlete, recording artist, television personality

I wish to have... a special gift such as a computer, a tree house, shopping

spree, or something they have wanted for a long time.

I wish to give... make-the-world-better fundraising, helping their school,

celebrating a holiday with their family.

  The important thing is that you are making a difference in a child’s life that they will never forget and you will receive an abundance of love and appreciation from their family and friends. If you prefer to make a cash donation to help kids realize their dream and provide renewed strength to fight their illnesses, please donate here.

Please check out the Ways To Help segment on their website;

for many opportunities to lend a helping hand. Link here.

 If I can stop one heart from breaking.

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life from aching,

Or cool one pain,

I shall not live in vain.

- Emily Dickinson


We'd like to thank a reader who donated generously

to two of our Spotlight Charities,  Forgotten Harvest and Grace Centers of Hope.  

Thank you to: 

Marguerite Hoffman 

for your contributions. 

If one of our newsletters has inspired you to Act,

please drop us a line and let us know! We'd love to share your story.

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