Feel Good Friday: Wishmakers in Training

Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 11:13 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - In the rush of exam week just before Christmas, three University of Toledo medical students took a little break to tell 13abc about their efforts to become wish-makers.

Rockets for Wishes was born of a “lightbulb moment” in the summer of 2021.

“We’re actually the first medical student-led organization associated with Make-a-Wish,” explained co-founder, Kaylee Fredrickson.

Her co-president, Dean Watkins, recalled that first discussion with Kaylee.

“We were actually at her brother’s wish celebration; her brother was a wish kid,” said Watkins. “It basically boiled down to, we love this ... what can we do to help?”

The duo talked with leaders of Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana. They learned that there are smaller organizations which can help with the “legwork.” That includes helping little ones decide what their wish is, and then to help put together the big reveal.

Fredrickson knows first-hand how much that moment can mean, recalling the day her brother was gifted with a five-person ATV to enjoy with his family.

“My brother doesn’t always get to have a lot of things in his life because of his disability, but he loves people,” said Kaylee.

Rockets for Wishes has now helped bring wishes to fruition for several local children, including one with chronic kidney disease who dreamed of a gaming room makeover, and a little boy in Tiffin, who wanted to enjoy the simplest of pleasures.

“His wish is to build sandcastles in Florida. He’s four-years-old with cancer. And when we visited him, he just kept saying that this was the best day ever,” she recalled, her voice cracking. “It kind of reminds us why we’re in medicine.”

So far, the organization has recruited around 30 members. They score donations from local businesses and also organize UToledo student/staff events to raise funds for wish fulfillment.

If you want to learn more about Rockets for Wishes, click here or here.

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