By Benny Fairchild, Wish Granter
As a former newspaper reporter and current Make-A Wish® volunteer, I always did my best to make sure my colleagues accurately detailed the mission of Make-A-Wish® when writing about the foundation, wish families or Make-A-Wish® events.
As a volunteer I’ve often encountered people saying, “Isn’t it depressing to work with dying children?” The answer I always give is something to the effect of, “It’s anything but. It is the most rewarding thing you could ever do.”
Defeating the misperception that Wish Kids are on their deathbeds may be tough, but I always refer back to our actual mission statement: “We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy” with the key words obviously being “life-threatening medical conditions.”
I’m also always quick to point out that my wife Jamie, a fellow Wish Granter, and I have worked with kids who are surviving and thriving.
By volunteering with Make-A-Wish®, we are able to give children and their families a once-in-a-lifetime experience that enables them to ever-so-briefly forget about whatever challenges they are facing. There’s nothing depressing about that.
Anyone who has ever seen pictures from a wish can see that the smiles are priceless and the smiles are real. For me, there is a noticeable difference between a “Make-A-Wish® smile” and a regular smile, like in a school photo or picture taken in one’s backyard.
And it’s those smiles that me keep me coming back and, in my opinion, make volunteering for Make-A-Wish® one of the most rewarding, non-depressing things one could ever do.