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Help make wishes come true

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Who among us would not want to be able to grant a sick child his or her wish?

Anybody who would not want to do that please stop reading now.

Those of you who not only want to be able to grant such wishes but have the time to commit and the ability to handle a variety of family situations — including, possible, sad news — please read on. The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois may want to meet you.

The Foundation is conducting free training for potential wish-granting volunteers from 5:30 to 8 p.m. next Monday, Oct. 17, in Bloomington. The Foundation is especially looking for bilingual volunteers to work with Spanish-speaking children.

But you'd better hurry. The Foundation needs your RSVP by tomorrow for this session, said Janet Bantz Glavin of the Make-A-Wish office in Peoria. Otherwise, she noted, the Foundation will be happy to get potential future volunteers in its pipeline.

"This is a very unique volunteering opportunity, to bring hope and strength and joy back to a child battling a life-threatening illness. It takes a special person," Glavin said.

Ideally, she added, a good fit would be a person not only flexible with their time — the Foundation asks for a two-year commitment so the child has continuity — "but someone who can handle a variety of family situations."

She explained one time a volunteer meets a child can be very different from the next, depending on how the child feels, how his or her parents or family is handling the situation or what news about their condition may have been received. Sometimes the illness becomes terminal.

"But the overall focus for us doesn't change, which is bringing hope and job of the wish being granted to the child. It's about creativity, fun," Glavin said.

Wish-granting volunteers work in teams of two to help grant the wishes of children in their community and they plan and carry out the wishes with support from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Glavin said volunteers are asked to commit 10 to 12 hours a month and to grant at least three wishes a year.

"For children who battle conditions like leukemia, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors and other childhood diseases, the Make-A-Wish Foundation provides a magical experience to help them cope with their illness and its treatment," the Foundation said.

It added that there are no financial obligations for the family and no waiting listing for children to receive wishes.

To look into the volunteer process go to www.wishes.org or call Jamie Staab at (312) 602-9413 or staab@wishes.org.

To find out other ways to support the foundation, including donating frequent flier miles to help make some of the wishes come true, go to the foundation website.

 

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).