Make-A-Wish Foundation is a moving and inspiring foundation that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to give them hope, strength and joy. Imagine seeing your son or daughter get to live their dream - from being a firefighter, to a superhero, to having a Disney princess party or swimming with the dolphins -  it brings an empowering magic to the entire family. The Make-A-Wish Foundation dedicates their time and resources to seeing that as many eligible children as possible are being granted their wish each year. In this week’s Friday Focus, we spoke to Maddy Barnes, Marketing & Communications Manager, to learn about the foundation and how they made Kaheem’s, and hundreds of other children’s, wishes come true. 
 
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
 Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic serves children who reside in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Founded in 1983, the Mid-Atlantic chapter has granted more than 9,500 wishes in the Mid-Atlantic region since its inception. Wish kids face any number of life-threatening medical conditions such as cancer, pediatric AIDS, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, kidney and heart disease. This year alone, 840 local children are expected to be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. However, for every wish granted, at least one more local child is waiting. The community has the opportunity to make an impact today by helping Make-A-Wish to reach hundreds of kids whose wishes would go otherwise unanswered this year. For more information, please visit www.midatlantic.wish.org.
 
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
 While five-year-old Kaheem from Owings Mills, MD is battling cancer, he is also battling for good. When Kaheem learned he would receive a wish, he wished to be a superhero and help people. On December 16, 2016, Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic partnered with FOX5 DC to turn Kaheem into Super Kaheem and he embarked on a series of missions to save people and the spirit of Washington, DC. With the help of everyday heroes like first responders, Kaheem received clues which led him on various superhero missions throughout DC, including to the Capital Wheel, the US Capitol, the National Theatre and the Museum. Kaheem was overjoyed to be Super Kaheem for a day. He even asked, "Mommy, is this a dream?" Check out a video from Kaheem’s magical wish come true: https://www.facebook.com/WishMidAtlantic/posts/10155056991607150
 
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
 600+ local wish kids are waiting. Annually, Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic expects 840 children in our area to be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. For every wish granted, at least one more local child is waiting. Every day is a new chance to reach wish children in the hope that the gift of a Make-A-Wish experience can help them cope with, or even overcome, their afflictions. Currently due to lack of funding, each day also brings the harsh reality that kids who need a wish aren’t receiving one. The Mid-Atlantic chapter currently has more than 600 children waiting for their wish. You can be part of turning these lost opportunities into stories of triumph and renewal. Visit www.midatlantic.wish.org for more information.
 
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
 
See attached events calendar. EVENTS 
 
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
  • Adopt-A-Wish®: Through the Adopt-A-Wish program, your gift will bring joy to local children and allow your company to be part of the life-changing impact of a wish come true. (www.midatlantic.wish.org/ways-to-help/sponsorships/adopt-a-wish)
  • Cause-Related Marketing: By initiating a cause-related marketing campaign to benefit Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to local children and expand their customer base by donating a percentage of sales or highlighting a specific item to benefit Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic. (development@midatlantic.wish.org)
  • Fundraise: Create a unique fundraising event, such as a holiday-themed work party or a special silent auction, to help make some very special wishes come true. (www.midatlantic.wish.org/ways-to-help/fundraising)
  • Sponsorships: Align your company with Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic to generate awareness for the partnership in conjunction with a specific event, campaign or mutually beneficial project. Donate Money: When you donate, you’re giving local children renewed strength to fight their illnesses and bringing families closer together when they need it most. (www.midatlantic.wish.org/ways-to-help/sponsorships