Make-A-Wish Alabama continues to grant wishes with new COVID-19 policies
A year ago WTVY launched it's second telethon with Make-A-Wish Alabama. So whether it was receiving a camper or going to Disney World, the vision is to grant the wish every child diagnosed with a critical illness.
If you had one wish. To go anywhere, have anything, be anyone, or meet anyone, what would it be? These are the questions Make-A-Wish foundations around the country ask their wish kids.
"Last year finished out in September and we had granted a 157 wishes last year and were on track to kind of surpass that this year and then of course COVID-19 hit and we just really wanted to prioritize the health and safety of our wish families of course," Erin Slay-Wilson, PR and Communications manager for Make-A-Wish Alabama said.
Nearly 85 percent of wishes involve travel but due to COVID-19 new policies postponed those wishes.
"Also finding ways to pivot the kids who aren't able to go on their wish right now, it's travel wish, that's what they want and they're willing to wait. So how can we send them a care package and make sure they know were thinking about them and that supporters and volunteers are still thinking about them, we have forgotten them and their wish," Wilson said.
Some wishes have been put on hold for the time being but wishes like a gaming room, shopping spree, or becoming a firefighter can all be granted.
"Every wish kid whose having to wait a little bit longer, we're really prioritizing their's as soon as we can and we're still able to grant wishes. So we're working really hard to grant as many of those wishes right now as we can," Wilson said.
Although the way wishes are granted has also changed.
"It's a lot like what were doing right now, we talk via the computer, zoom meetings, we have a couple staff members that will call them and talk to them just like this and have a form and we just go through our wish type questions to help them warm up and be comfortable, help them feel like were getting to know them and their family," Wilson said.
But the impact of a wish serving as a new beginning for a wish kid and family will never change.
"It's the most important, all that we talk about in our staff meetings and in our group texts, on emails is how can we grant this wish, how can we grant another wish this week, how can we get creative and get someone involved in this community. We just are all working together to figure out creative ways to grant the wishes that were able to, just so they knew their communities like in Dothan and the Wiregrass area, all over the state to have their wish granted one day even if they had to wait a little bit longer," Wilson said.
Make-A-Wish Alabama's most recent wish was a computer gaming room for Pedro in Central Alabama, that included a car parade with his friends and local law enforcement who each had gifts for his new room.