Make-A-Wish adapts wishes during COVID-19

The organization is foregoing travel for the next year
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 4:45 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Make-A-Wish grants hundreds of wishes to children in Ohio every year. Donations make those wishes possible but due to COVID-19 all of the annual galas are virtual. According to the non-profit, donations are down but the number of Wish Kids is rising.

Due to the virus, the organization is also adapting how they serve Wish Kids. Right now, all travel plans are on hold for at least a year. A very popular wish is a family trip to Hawaii or Disney but due to the threat of COVID-19 and the fragile immune systems of many of these children, Make-A-Wish is postponing. The organization is instead finding new ways to grant wishes and urging families to think outside the box when it comes time to make a wish.

“Backyard, room redoes, online shopping trips, we are changing and it’s been interesting,” says Cherie Chatreau-Grifo, Senior Development Officer with Make-A-Wish.

Some children always opt toward something that lasts longer or can be done during a pandemic, while maintaining social distancing. For example, Evelyn Tussing, 6, has cystic fibrosis. She was approached by Make-A-Wish and 3 years later is receiving her wish of a horse. The Tussing family says riding is Evelyn’s passion. She started riding last year at Challenged Champions Equestrian Center in Ottawa, Ohio. The riding is therapeutic and her family says the vibrations also help loosen mucus that can build up in the young girl’s lungs.

The riding therapy center also connected the Tussing family with Theresa Logan, a woman who is now becoming part of the Make-A-Wish family and helping provide the horse that Evelyn will call her own. “Cash” is going home with Evelyn soon and her family says Make-A-Wish is giving her much more than a hobby, it’s providing her hope and confidence that even with a chronic disease, anything is possible.

If you would like to help fund a wish, Make-A-Wish is hosting virtual fundraisers this year in place of the traditional galas. You can donate online right now to help make a child’s dream come true.

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