I joined Make-A-Wish America as a marketing intern in 2012 - during my final semester at Arizona State University. In my interview for the internship, my soon-to-be supervisors mentioned that one of the realities of working in the National Office is there is not daily interaction with wish families. The National Office supports the chapters nationwide so they are able to effectively grant wishes.
Being Involved is Good Enough
At the time, I was unfazed. I assumed that working in any context for such a great cause would be sufficiently rewarding. And I was right … to an extent. It is a great feeling to read a wish story and know that in some tiny, indirect way, I might have helped make it possible. However, I have always believed that reading about the magic and wonder of a wish is not the same as actually physically experiencing it. Then, five months into my time at Make-A-Wish, I learned just how right I was.
My supervisor approached me with a simple task: Call a wish family to get their approval to use their wish kid in an advertisement for Make-A-Wish. Although the task seemed easy enough, I immediately became nervous. This was new territory for me. I wasn’t sure exactly what to say or how to say it.
After a few deep breaths, I made the call.
My First Glimpse of Impact
The wish mom picked up. I stumbled through a short introduction that was shaky at best. It might not have been as smooth as I would have liked, but as soon as I mentioned the words “Make-A-Wish,” I could do no wrong. The wish mom immediately began telling me all about her daughter’s wish to go on a cruise and how amazing it was.
I could tell she was re-living the whole experience as she talked to me. She explained how impressed she was with the enormous ship and its seemingly endless activities. She described the wonderful quality time that the entire family got to spend together. After 15 minutes, I had almost forgotten the reason why I was calling in the first place. I asked for her approval to use her daughter in our advertisement, and she agreed without hesitation.
As I got off the phone, I could not help but smile. I had finally experienced the effect of a wish firsthand. And, much like most wish families’ wish experiences, it surpassed any and all expectations.
Jamie has since joined Make-A-Wish as a coordinator with the Marketing and Communications team.