The coronavirus has put a lot of plans on hold, maybe even a trip you were planning. It is doing the same for a non-profit that grants wishes to children battling critical illnesses: the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
For more than three decades, the non-profit organization has been granting wishes for children like Kinsley, a 6-year-old battling an aggressive form of cancer that wished to go sailing with Cinderella. Now in 2020, COVID-19 has sent their wishes to a screeching halt.
“75 percent of our wishes involve some form of travel and the ones that don’t even involve travel, still involve large group gatherings like sporting events, Disney,” said the CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida Chapter, Norman Wedderburn.
He told NBC 6’s Sheli Muñiz that there are more than 700 kids whose wishes are being postponed.
“We had two wish children who were scheduled to go to this year’s Olympics,” said Wedderburn.
18-year-old Chelsea Arturo had her last chemo treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last August and she was supposed to go to Japan this summer with her family.
“My wish was to go to Japan because I always enjoyed the aspects of their culture and I would love to try their food and there are certain activities I can only do there,” she told Muñiz.
“We use the wish in so many ways to impact the family and to impact their children to give them hope, strength, and joy,” said Wedderburn.
“It was sort of relief for me and my family from everything I was going through because when I received the news I was going to Japan, I was just starting to recover and it served as motivation and it was the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Arturo.
While she’s understanding, for some younger children, it might be harder to grasp why their wishes are not happening, at least for now.
“The most important message that we wanted to get out to our wish families is exactly that that the wish has been postponed, we have the resources, and we are going to be ready, willing, and able to grant those wishes as soon as we get the green light,” said Wedderburn.