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Disney Make-A- Wish has the privilege of granting a child’s wish every 38 minutes and the Walt Disney Company is involved in 40 percent of these wishes. As with many little kids it is a dream to get to meet Mickey Mouse, Buzz and Woody or any of the Disney Princesses, and with medical bills piling up parents are not often able to take their sick children on the trip of a life time that many wish they could. Make-A-Wish all started with one seven year old boy who was dying of leukemia and wanted to be a police officer. Two of the officers who had helped to grant the little boy’s wish flew out to his funeral and were inspired to see how the story had touched so many people and they knew they had to continue to provide such experiences from then on. The first donation was $15 and by November 1980 the organization had earned its nonprofit status. The following year the group had collected nearly $2,000 and was able to grant their first official wish. In May of 1983 the Make-A-Wish foundation was incorporated and more chapters started across the country. As of 2013 the foundation has awarded more than 226,000 wishes. “Make-A-Wish remains committed to a vision of granting a wish to every eligible child. Because wishes make very sick kids feel better – and sometimes, when they feel better, they get better,” according to MAKE-A-WISH’S CONNECTION WITH DISNEY Although WWE star John Cena has granted the most wishes Walt Disney has granted nearly 40 percent of all wishes in some kind of way. Some children wish to go to Disney World to see the park, some wish to have a cartoon idea they have come to life and some children want to just meet one special character to make their dream wish come true. All children who are granted wishes through Make-A-Wish are treated with great royalty throughout their whole trip. Some children get to be flight attendants on the plane ride to their wish, some are picked up in limousines but no matter how they arrive they are all granted special access to Disney’s private Make-A-Wish village. DISNEY VILLAGE FOR ILL CHILDREN “Give the Kids the World” is a private village located in central Florida that offers children with special needs a chance of a lifetime. Each year 27,000 children are diagnosed with various life-threatening illnesses and of these more than half of them request to visit the central Florida attractions. The village is over 70 acres and features more than 140 villas ready for children to come at any time they are needed. The village also has different restaurants and attractions for children and their families while they are at the parks if they are unable to go out. Disney also brings characters to see these children in the villages if they wish to meet someone but are too ill to leave the villages. Disney’s “Give the Kids the World” village was all started when Henri Landwirth was called upon to bring a child’s wish to life. At the time he was working with a hotel, that partnered with Make-A-Wish and they did not have enough space at the time for the family to


bring their child who was losing a battle with leukemia her, only wish was to see the Disney Parks. After this little girl died before Henri was able to work out arrangements he vowed to never again turn a child’s wish down. After this vow he started with the hospital that he worked in and eventually building the 70 acre village that is known today. Since then 122,000 families have been able to experience memorable moments with their children. At the village families are treated to an entirely cost free adventure. This trip can often be the happiest memories a family may hold with their children who are suffering these terminal illnesses, it has also been said to believe by many doctors that due to these trips children often have a stronger will to fight when they get back home. “Through the tireless support of our volunteers, employees and generous partners, we dedicate each and every day to these special families,” said a spokesperson for the village. DISNEY WISH PROGRAM Disneyland in California also has a program that is involved with Make-A-Wish and that is the Disney Wish program. In the Disney park there is a Disney Wish Lounge located at the end of Main Street, U.S.A., on the East side, nestled between the First Aid Station and the Baby Center. This is a place that those who are on a wish trip can go to and rest. The Wish Lounge is centrally located to provide a rest area for sick children. Most families that would visit Disney have the stamina to spend all day in the parks or are able to travel back and forth to their rooms, but these sick children most likely need more frequent breaks and therefore they are granted access to the Wish Lounge. If you simply go to the Make-A-Wish website,, you can read hundreds of stories who have had wishes come true due to this organization and the help the Disney offers. The Make-A-Wish and Disney partnership is vital to the fulfilling of wishes, whether that’s because they accomdate these special families or by supporting the foundation financially by making a $5 million gift annually.


Who Qualifies? “We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” – Make a Wish Mission Statement In the Spring of 1980, Customs Agent Tommy Austin had a family friend whose sevenyear-old son was suffering from terminal leukemia. That little boy was Chris Greicius, who wanted to be a police officer when he grew up. Austin brought Chris’s condition to the attention of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Phone calls were made, a uniform tailored, a patrol car reserved, a helicopter manned, and little Chris was granted his wish of being a cop. He was given a badge, and with the aid of a battery powered toy motorcycle, even got his motorcycle officer’s wings. Three days after having his dream coming true, Chris lost his battle to leukemia. That was the first wish unofficially granted by the Make A Wish Foundation, months before it was a bona fide, tax-exempted non-profit organization. Twenty-three years later, more than 226,000 children have had their dreams brought to life. Every one of them sharing the same tragic commonality: they were suffering from lifethreatening diseases. The foundation has served children with a variety of diseases. Despite Make-A-Wish’s prominence there still exists misconceptions about what conditions qualify a child for Make-A-Wish eligibility. They key term as outlined by the Make-A-Wish mission statement is “life-threatening medical conditions.” There is a prevailing misconception that only children with terminal illnesses (terminal referring to a condition that is untreatable, incurable, or otherwise expected to result in imminent death of a patient) were eligible to receive wishes. The intent of the Make-A-Wish foundation is not specifically to grant last wishes. In fact, more than 80% of children helped by the foundation are still alive. At the same time, because the foundation must responsibly steward its resources, there is an emphasis on “life-threatening.” This status is officially determined by the child’s primary doctor. Children’s whose conditions are progressive, degenerative, or malignant are considered eligible. These are the kind of illnesses that put a child’s life in imminent jeopardy. A common example of a non-terminal yet lifethreatening medical condition would be a child awaiting a heart transplant. The condition is not necessarily terminal, because it is treatable (treatment being the transplant) but it is very well life threatening because of the danger of the operation possibly exacerbated by the scarcity of usable donor organs. Most qualifying conditions fall under one of the following categories: Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Immunology, Nephrology, Neurology, Pulmonology, Rheumatology, Transplants, or Urology. Under many of these categories certain conditions often require additional qualifying criteria. All of these distinctions fall help contribute to what could be called the most important aim of Make-A-Wish. A wish coming true can give a child what it takes to keep fighting. A wish coming true does not just give the child something to smile about between medical treatments. It is a medical treatment. According to a combined 89 percent of doctors, nurses and health professionals surveyed say they believe a wish experience can influence wish kids' 3

physical health. Healthcare professionals working with wish kids often observe the wish as a turning point in the child’s treatment. Wish kids become stronger and more energetic patients who have an easier time complying with difficult treatment regiments. Often the whole family unit can be impacted. Ninety-six percent of parents said their families, stressed from all directions by the tragedy of disease and the burden of medical expenses, were strengthened by the wish experience. The Make-A-Wish foundation is about imbuing life. It is about empowering those who are often the most powerless. It is about imparting life to people who are on the cusp of death. Helping children helps families. Helping families helps the world.


GRANTED WISHES IMPROVE TERMINALLY ILL CHILDREN’S LIVES The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish, on average, every 38 minutes and also, on average, a child is referred for a wish every 28 minutes. Over 300,000 wishes have been granted since the foundation was established in 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is the largest wish granting organization in the world. Make-A-Wish “wish experiences” leave a lasting positive impact on the overall health and well being of all those involved. There is a unique process for every wish and what results of the process is both amazing and fulfilling for all who participate. Wish children have been known to receive a temporary release from pain, improved health and an enhanced state of mind as a product of their wish experience. These wish experiences also help to strengthen family and community bonds. Make-A-Wish is needed in every community nationwide. Lending a hand to someone in need is a beautiful thing. To qualify for a wish, a child must have a life-threatening medical condition and be older than 2 1/2 years of age and younger than the age of 18 (at the time the child is referred). The child also must not have received a wish from another wish-granting company. The child has to be referred by a health professional, parent, guardian, or by themselves. When the referral is approved, a certified medical professional must verify that the child’s medical condition is life threatening or terminal. Once verified, an enthusiastic “wish team” is sent to the child to learn the child’s one true wish. Wish teams create an unforgettable experience for these wish kids that are personalized and the child’s version of a “perfect day.” The wish child’s personality, interests, and creativity motivate every wish experience. Make-A-Wish serves every community in the United States. There are approximately 25,000 active volunteers a part of this organization. Nearly 75% of wish experiences involve some form of travel. The Walt Disney Company is involved in nearly 40% of wish experiences. As of August 2012, the average cost of a wish was about $8,141. Creating Temporary Relief from Pain When wish kids are granted their wish, they receive more than just a wonderful, fulfilling experience. The experience improves the quality of life for them and for their family. Health professionals that treat these children say that the wish experience heeds a great importance to the medical treatment. They have observed that these patients feel better and respond more readily to the treatment after their wishes are granted. Also, community volunteers who grant wishes say that the experience helps them better see the best in others and they become more actively committed in helping others who are in need. Statistics Reveal That Wishes Improve A Wish Child’s Health A good 89% of doctors, nurses, and health professionals surveyed say that they believe a wish experience can influence wish kids’ physical health. Most say that a wish come true has the potential to be a positive turning point in the child’s battle for health. Parents and volunteers have observed that a granted wish makes kids feel stronger and more energized.


Enhanced State Of Mind Children along with their parents experience more happiness and less fear in their lives. Children tend to be less isolated from their friends, and encounter a return of self-confidence that helps them feel “normal” again. They are empowered to keep fighting their lifethreatening medical conditions. Parents have said that their family units are strengthened through the shared experience of the wish granting process. Jane Goodall from Mississippi said, “Make-A-Wish has been such a gift to our family. We could never afford a trip like this for our entire family. We are so blessed to know Ann can experience a trip of a lifetime! The generosity of the volunteers and donors will change our lives forever.” o 99% of parents reported that a wish experience gave their child an increased feeling of happiness and 96% said that the wish experience helped strengthen their families. Wish Granting Strengthens Communities Volunteers tend to trust others more and feel optimistic about the future after their experiences with the Make A Wish Foundation. That is why the need for Make-A-Wish in communities around the world is so imperative. Volunteers feel an increased sense of desire and compassion to help others in and around their community. They also have a greater need to establish a long-term commitment to philanthropy. Miles, a five-year-old battling Leukemia has a wish to be Batman. On November 15th, the people of the Greater Bay Area in San Francisco will grant this wish by rallying everyone they can in the community to turn this city into Gotham for the day. Thousands of volunteers are leaping at this opportunity. Patricia Wilson is the executive director of Make-A-Wish in the Greater Bay Area. Wilson said, “It’s a rare public wish. Most of our wishes are very private and intimate, and this one is one in which we needed people to assist, and people are rising… San Francisco is known for heart and soul and people coming out, and my goodness, this is demonstrating that.” The volunteers of Make-A-Wish receive more out of their experiences than the effort they put in to them. o 95% of volunteers reported an increased sense of compassion and 84% felt an increased faith in humanity. Internationally Known Make-A-Wish International was born in February of 1993 to serve the five countries granting wishes outside the United States, and now serves children in nearly 50 countries on five continents through its 37 affiliates. Donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation are spent to help make children’s wishes come true. How are these donations spent? o

86% go toward the program.



6% go toward fundraising.


8% go toward management and general expenses.

• Every day, wishes are granted to children in countries all around the world, giving kids hope, strength and joy during the times they need it the most. Satisfaction guaranteed. Ever since the first wish was granted, it has been the primary goal of Make-A-Wish to grant as many wishes as possible and make dreams come true for every child who may not have the chance later in life. Want to find out more? Go to for more information.


Illnesses Plaguing Children in Kentucky Children are our future. They will work when we can't do it anymore, they take care of us when we will be old, the future is theirs. And therefore we should take care of them and protect them because they can't protect themselves. Children have a low immune system and because of this they are more susceptible to diseases. The good new is the death children from all causes declined from 73 per 100.000 in 2001 to 61 in 2012 however he number of children with special health care needs in western Kentucky increased from 2001 to 2012 about 10 percent. Right now 26 percent of the children in western Kentucky need special medical health care. Make-A-Wish Western Kentucky helps sick children to fulfill their biggest wish before they die. But the organization also wants to prevent children to get sick. To help our children and to improve their lives it's important to know why children get sick in western Kentucky and not just to take care of the symptoms. There are a few things in this area that cause children to get sick. The Climate One of the big problems in western Kentucky is the air pollution. This area's pollution rates are the highest in the state. Air pollution is the result of vehicles, factories and other sources reacting with the sunlight. The result of air pollution are irritated eyes, noses, and lungs. Especially children are susceptible to this. And of course the risk that children will come down with asthma, allergies, lung problems and so on increases. This can have impact on their whole lives. The changing climate has another big impact: As temperatures increase and rainfall patterns change mosquitoes, which can carry and transmit diseases like Dengue Fever, can remain active for longer seasons and in wider areas. This province is positive for both dengue fever mosquito vector species. But because of the climate other dangerous diseases like Lyme disease and the West Nile Virus are likely to spread. And finally the changing climate leads to extreme weather. In western Kentucky we had record rainfall and record temperatures. This weakens childrens immune system and make them more vulnerable to infections and diseases.

Poverty Kentucky has one of the top five poverty rates in the US with 19.4 percent. That's the result of a survey of the US Census Bureau in 2012. It also estimated that one in four children lives in poverty.


These numbers present troubles amongst others with health related issues - especially for children. Immune booster and health preventatives as healthy food are important to prevent flu. But they are expensive and poor families can't afford this for their children. Of course Health care can be the largest expenses for families in need. Nearly one-fourth of inhabitants in western Kentucky don't have health insurance in 2012. In western Kentucky 11% of children have no health insurance because they are not covered by their parents plan or their parents have no health insurance. So once the children get sick their parents can't afford medicine for them or help without having big debts afterward. So very often the children of poor families can't go to the doctor to get help. And they can't even go to a preventive medical checkup. Chemical Exposures One big industry in western Kentucky is the agricultural production. But working and living on a farm can be an other big threat to the health of children. Since the beginning of farming children played a big role in it. They helped harvesting and where they could. And this is still today the case. These children come mainly from three major groups: members of farm families, migrant youth laborers (primarily Latinos), and other hired local children. But on a farm there are plenty of dangers for children. Expert say that the top four health risks for farm youngsters are mishaps involving tractors or other machinery, vehicle crashes, encounters with large animals and drownings. That's because young children handle large machinery which they aren't able to handle. One of the biggest agricultural industry in western Kentucky are the tobacco farms. Western Kentucky is the second largest tobacco-producing state in the United States. But especially working on a tobacco farmes can bring some risks with it for children. They can come down with GTS, the Green Tobacco Sickness. It occurs when somebody absorbs nicotine through the skin as they come into contact with leaves of the mature tobacco plant. GTS is characterized largely by nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle weakness, and dizziness. But not only in the tobacco production there are chemicals which can cause illness. In every farm the workers use pesticides to protect the plants from vermins. These pesticides can have an effect on the workes but also on the farm families or the rural residents. Children can mingle with the chemicals via air, ground water and food. They can breathe in pesticide "drift" from adjoining or nearby fields, eat contaminated fruits and vegetables or drink from, wash their hands, or bathe in irrigation canals or holding ponds, where pesticides can accumulate. So there are many hazards on farms for children and many dangers coming from a farm. And because agriculture is a big industry in western Kentucky this is especially for this area a big threat for the health of children. Childrens health begins not when they are already sick, but before they get sick. We should provide them a secure environment so they can grow up. In western Kentucky that


means to fight against the poverty, improve the quality of the farms and do something against the global warming. If we would start to improve the living situation of children in Western Kentucky they would not get life-threatening sick and there would be no longer a need for Make-A-Wish Western Kentucky.

History of Make a Wish As we begin a new push to collect money for the Western Kentucky chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation many people wonder why Western Kentucky would need it's own chapter. But the reason is pretty clear: Children in Western Kentucky are susceptible to get really sick. Many dangers in this area cause life-threatening disease. Agriculture is one of the biggest businesses in Western Kentucky. But that’s a huge danger for the children. Falling from a tractor, chemicals in the water or getting in touch directly with the chemicals are the biggest threats. And because the immune system of children isn’t that strong as it is from adults, they can get really sick by this. And sometimes the disease is so terrible that these children can’t be healed like when they suffer from cancer or the Green Tobacco Sickness. Their life will be too short to experience everything and to fulfill some of their wishes. Thanks to the chapter of Make A Wish more wisher of sick children in western Kentucky can be fulfilled. But how did the story of the organization start? Imagine your child or the child of your friend has an inoperable brain tumor. What would you do? Most people would try that this short life is fulfilled and the child has at least a wonderful life. Paige Duwall, the chairperson and founder of Make a Wish Western Kentucky, was in such a situation. Sophie, the 7 year old daughter of a friend f her, had an inoperable brain tumor and would never get older than 10. Duwall wanted Sophie to have a beautiful life.


“And then I read an article about Make A Wish. Sophie always wanted to be a princess and go to a princess ball. So why not fulfill her dream?”, Duwall said. She told her friend about the organization and they sent the wish to Make A Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. But the organization was so busy with wishes that she wasn't sure that Sophie's wish will be granted before her death. Because of this Paige Duwall started to plan a princess ball for Sophie on her own. She asked an orchestra if they would play the music, asked people for some donations, rented the location, organized the decoration. Many people started to help her after they heard what she was planning. So the princess ball could finally take place. It was in a gymnasium, decorated like a castle with a huge table like the Round Table. All her friends were dressed up like princesses and princes waiting for Sophie to enter the room. An orchestra played her favorite song when Sophie entered the gymnasium. She wore a beautiful pink princess dress and a tiara. With a big smile she walked down the aisle to her chair. The whole afternoon she and her friends enjoyed the music, the food and all the funny games. “Sophie was so happy at that day. I'm really thankful that Paige and all the others did all this for her. I've never saw her so happy as at this day. Her dream became true,” Sophie's mother said. A few months after her ball Sophie was hospitalized and died a few weeks later. But this event was the trigger for Paige Duwall to help more sick children in Western Kentucky. After a meeting with the manager of Make A Wish she succeeded to convince them that there is a need for Make A Wish Western Kentucky. Because of this chapter children can be helped faster. The Story of Make A Wish started very similar to the one of Make A Wish Western Kentucky. Chris Greicius, 7, diseased at leukemia in 1980. His biggest dream was to become a police officer and catch the bad boys, but he was so ill that he would never do that. A friend of the family, U.S. customs Agent Tommy Austin, wanted to fulfill this lifetime dream before the boy died. After talking to a few people, the officers of Arizona Department of Public Safety helped to make Chris' dream become true. On April 29 the Arizona officers took Chris and his parents by helicopter do their headquarters. There he was given a Smokey Bear hat and his own badge was inducted as an honorary DPS officer. Chris became first and only honorary DPS officer. The reactions from the officers were s enthusiastic that they pitched in to order him a uniform. The young Boy passes May 2. Happy that his wish was granted. By November 1980 that enthusiasm turned one wish into an organization that raised money to grant wishes to lot of children in Arizona and eventually across the United States. By 2003 the organization has spread to Western Kentucky. And now every year 27 terminally ill and very sick children in Western Kentucky are granted wishes.



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