Give the gift of a life-changing wish this holiday season. This year marked a number of significant milestones for Make-A-Wish New Jersey, whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The organization celebrated its 35th anniversary in the Garden State and granted its historic 10,000th wish in 2018.
Since 1983, New Jersey wish children have experienced the hope, joy, and transformation a wish can provide during the harsh realities that come with a life-threatening medical condition. Over the course of the past three-and a half decades, Make-A-Wish New Jersey has shown that in the fight against a critical illness, a wish can serve as a catalyst for renewed strength for every child and family. Make-A-Wish New Jersey serves children 2.5 to 18 years of age, in all 21 counties, granting a record-breaking 560 wishes in its most recent fiscal year.
The vision of the global organization is to reach every eligible child and make their wishes come true. Make-A-Wish New Jersey has adopted a strategic five-year plan with a goal of achieving that vision by its 40th anniversary in 2023. The New Jersey chapter has already seen exponential wish-granting growth over the past seven years since the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art wish granting castle, opened in Monroe Township in December, 2011. The Wishing Place has served as an inspirational backdrop for first-time visits with families, special events, and thousands of wishes inspired and granted. It serves as a respite for wish children, where they can come and let their minds be free of the limitations that come with lengthy hospital stays and doctor visits.
“Our mission is simple, but its impact is life-changing,” shared Tom Weatherall, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “Medical professionals — our key referral sources — have shared with us that a wish can serve as a part of their treatment protocols and provide something that medical science cannot. We’ve seen time and again that a wish serves as inspiration to entire families and a beacon of hope during the most challenging of times.”
The average cost of a wish is approximately $11,000, and the need for funding continues to increase in order to reach its five-year strategic goal. Make-A-Wish New Jersey charges no fees from its wish families and receives no government support — it relies 100 percent on the benevolence of the community. With continued generosity from individuals throughout the Garden State, the five-year vision can be achieved, while also remaining committed to an ongoing 35-year promise: that no child’s wish shall be left un-granted due to lack of funding.
Your gift will help put smiles on children’s faces, provide them much-needed breaks from the anxieties of hospitals and treatments, and make lifelong memories for entire families when they need it most. Visit nj.wish.org or call 800-252-WISH (9474) to learn more.