As I finish my time as the communications intern at Make-A-Wish Illinois after about eight months, there is so much that I can reflect on from my work here.
The biggest lesson I have learned is the true life-changing impact that a wish has on every single kid that gets their's granted.
I’ve been able to see the power of a wish during my internship in many different ways but most significantly when writing wish stories and communicating with wish families.
I was able to hear parents remark about their child’s wish in different ways such as:
“The last four years have been so chaotic - in addition to Miles’s medical situation - dialysis for 2.5 years, a liver transplant and then a year later, a kidney transplant - my husband Ryan (Miles’s Dad) was also going through chemo throughout that entire time and passed away in January last year. I expected this trip to bring Miles a lot of joy, but I didn’t anticipate the amount of joy it’d bring me too. It did my momma heart so good to see the magic of Disney through Miles’s eyes. It truly was such a special trip.” – Ashley, Miles' mom
“This was more than just a trip, this was an outlet for him to be a "normal" kid and enjoy life. This renewed his spirit and strengthened his determination to keep fighting. This provided a new coping mechanism through such awesome memories that even in his toughest medical battles he will still have something to smile about and positive to focus on. This was such a needed break from his dreary reality.” – Elizabeth, Alex’s mom
“It’s great to see him have a way to just be a three-year-old.” – Michelle, Bryce’s mom
No matter how the wish was described to me, what it was, or even what else the wish child had gone through there was always a common theme; the wishes that were being granted were creating such positive impacts in the lives of not only the wish child, but also all those that were involved in each wish.
When each kid is battling a critical illness, so much of their normal childhood is taken away from them. I’ve been able to see firsthand that a wish has the ability to give kids the chance to look outside their illness, giving them the opportunity to restore a sense of childhood back into their lives and normalcy back to their family.
It has also been amazing to be here during the past eight months when Dr. Patel’s Wish Impact Study was released. This study opened the door to the factual possibility that a wish not only impacts the emotional well-being of a wish child but that it also has positive medical and financial benefits as well.
By being able to understand the impact of a wish from all these different angles during my internship, it is crystal clear to me why Make-A-Wish is on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life. I now know directly that wishes are an incredibly important part of a child’s treatment journey.
A native of Naperville, Arianna is a May 2019 graduate of Loyola University Chicago and pursuing a career in nonprofit public relations.