Make-A-Wish Wyoming celebrates 700-wish milestone
TORRINGTON — Make-A-Wish Wyoming announced it is celebrating 700 wishes granted across the state since its inception in 1985; 10 of those wishes were granted for Goshen County families.
“The organization has been able to positively impact 700 – and counting – Wyoming wish kids’ lives,” said spokeswoman Jessica Stanbury. “It’s been a long journey getting to this milestone, but it has been rewarding and inspiring on so many levels for those currently working with Make-A-Wish Wyoming and those who paved the way over the past 38 years.”
According to Make-A-Wish Wyoming, the true impact of a wish is “almost indescribable.”
“Having gotten to meet so many families, I’ve seen how each of them have their own medical journey,” said Make-A-Wish Wyoming CEO Morgan Poloncic. “I’ve also been able to witness how each wish has a different meaning to every family, therefore having a very different impact.”
In addition to making an impact for the child receiving a wish, the program has impacted the lives of hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, board members, partners and community members according to Stanbury.
“Make-A-Wish Wyoming was founded by four individuals in Casper hoping to help families by granting a few wishes each year,” she wrote. “The first official wish in Wyoming was granted in 1985 to 10-year-old Brian, in Gillette, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. For months Brian dreamed of a Huffy BMX bike, even trying to assemble his own bike from pieces he found around town.”
Wanting to help her brother get his BMX bike, his sister reached out to the newly formed Make-A-Wish Wyoming Foundation and submitted Brian’s name.
“I just love this story about Brian’s wish,” Poloncic said. “I was so fortunate to reconnect with his family in 2015 and relive the impact that wish had on their lives.”
In 2015, Brian’s family, which included his mother and sister, attended the Stories of Light Gala with the bike Brian received in 1985 as a demonstration of the continued impact the organization has on communities in Wyoming.
That same year, Make-A-Wish Wyoming celebrated 500 wishes granted and its 30-year anniversary.
“Listening to his (Brian’s) mom talk about his wish and the weeks after it was granted was incredibly emotional,” Poloncic said. “She remembered those memories so vividly and mentioned how Brian would ride the bike every day. Even when his illness prevented him from riding, the bike sat at his bedside.”
Every wish sheds light and hope in the midst of tough times,” Poloncic added.
Make-A-Wish Wyoming has granted wishes of all kinds since that first wish granted for Brian, including wishes such as going to Denver Broncos or Colorado Rockies games, a wish to be a zookeeper, wishes for hairless cats or to become a YouTuber; an installment of a synthetic hockey rink and other special wishes.
The Wyoming foundation granted the first celebrity wish in the late 80s with Kiil and the Gang.
However, one special wish the organization still remarks about today is that of Evie Marie, whose wish was to host a concert at the Salt Lake City Children’s Hospital so all the other children could enjoy her wish with her.
Now the organization says it’s preparing for its next 40 years and 700 more wishes.
“It’s so exciting to be at 700 wishes, but it makes me think about the hundreds of kids we have yet to serve,” Poloncic said. “We all wish for the day we don’t have children with critical illnesses, but until that day comes, we are honored to help bring children joy right now through a wish.”
“We wouldn’t be at 700 wishes without the thousands of people across the state working to make wishes happen for the past 38 years,” she added. “Thank you to those who have helped us get to 700 wishes – we can’t wait to see what the future brings. If you haven’t been a part of the past 700 wishes, you can still be a part of the next 700 – our door is always open.”
Make-A-Wish Wyoming relies on referrals to grant wishes.
“It’s important for others to understand illnesses don’t have to be terminal to qualify for a wish,” Stanbury explained. “Parents, or those referring to a child, should keep in mind that if you refer a child for a wish, you aren’t taking a wish away from another child. Make-A-Wish Wyoming has no limits on how many wishes they can grant for medically eligible kids.”
Recently, a Lingle teen who fought cancer and won had her wish of visiting Disney World fulfilled.