PHOENIX (February 10, 2014) – It’s been 33 years since the first Make-A-Wish kid, an 8-year-old boy named Bopsy, stepped foot into a world of inspiration and motivation at the Disneyland® Resort. Decades later, thousands more wish kids with life-threatening medical conditions have felt that same feeling – inspiration that can provide the hope, strength, and joy that they need to fight their illness. This month, Make-A-Wish is celebrating all that Disney has done to strengthen the families and communities where we all live, work, and play.
Make-A-Wish grants more than 14,000 wishes each year. Nearly 7,000 of them involve Disney’s help – ranging from once-in-a-life time meetings with favorite Disney talent and visits to Disney theme parks to extraordinary trips on Disney Cruise Lines® and relaxing stays at the Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. In 2013, Disney contributed more than $10 million through the donation of cash and theme park tickets to help grant wishes.
“Disney has been with Make-A-Wish since the beginning. Their support of our mission and their deep affection for our wish kids has never wavered and continues to grow,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “As Disney does for all of us, they capture our wish kids’ imaginations, giving them hope as they return their focus to the future. We are grateful to have such a dedicated and faithful friend.”
Disney’s support of Make-A-Wish extends far beyond the wish experience. In 2012, Make-A-Wish, as a signature partner, secured a grant from Disney, and every year since has received grants, totaling more than $2.2 million, to help build wish infrastructure and other capacity-building programs. Since 2006, Disney-owned ESPN has showcased incredible sports-related wish stories on their annual “My Wish” series; and the company encourages Disney VoluntEARS to contribute their time and talents to further the Make-A-Wish mission.
Throughout the month of February, Make-A-Wish will showcase Disney wish stories on its website at wish.org, sharing the story of just a few of the thousands of wish kids impacted by their Disney experience. Make-A-Wish is proud to call Disney its longest tenured sponsor and sincerely thanks Disney for more than three decades of generous support.
Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 240,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,000 in 2013 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.
Editor’s note: For additional information on the Make-A-Wish and Disney relationship or to request additional information or photos, please contact Josh deBerge, National Communications Manager at 602-451-4636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.