Let’s Help Change Narratives: Big Wish Gala Recap

That family with the son who has cancer! The 2nd grader with epilepsy! The cystic fibrosis kid! Have you ever noticed how quickly a diagnosis comes to define a child and family? A family that was otherwise flying under the radar in your school, neighborhood, or community now becomes defined by their child’s diagnosis. And when a child becomes defined by a diagnosis, disease, illness, etc. their own identity, what makes them special and unique gets lost and when they lose that hope falls shortly behind. I’m not going to lie, going into the BIG WISH Gala I was one of “those” people, those people who would define a family by their tragedy, but by the end of the evening my heart and mindset changed entirely.

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My metamorphosis began the moment we sat down. Seated at our table was Annabella, one of the Wish-Kids being recognized that evening, she was dressed like a little princess seated snug between her mom and dad. I couldn’t help but notice her star balloon attached to her chair and inquired about her wish.



Turns out her wish was granted and what an awesome wish it was, she and her family (even her 7 year old brother & 2 year old brother…who she got a break from at the Gala & got to have mom and dad all to herself for the evening) went on a Disney Cruise!! How cool is that?! I have never been and I had many questions for Annabella and her parents, which they all so graciously answered. I was also excited to learn that Annabella and her family are local, from NW Ohio…like just down the pike a few miles! (Make-a-Wish donations DO stay local) In the background I could hear Christina Williams, the Emcee getting the evening started.


The evening began with all the Wish Kids coming up to the stage, sharing their name, age, and wish…and just like that it all changed for me. Suddenly I didn’t see children who received diagnosis, of leukemia, brain cancer, etc. I saw children who received wishes and with those wishes, hope! How cool is that?


Make-a-Wish helps us all change our narrative! No longer is a child defined as, “that child with cystic fibrosis”, but rather, “that young author who had his book published” or “that 6th grader with brain cancer”, but, “that 6th grader who swam with sharks”….yup, true stories, those are wishes that were granted thanks to Make-a-Wish and thanks to ordinary people like you and me!


I arrived home that evening feeling rejuvenated & hopeful, apparently it’s contagious…and couldn’t wait to tell my husband all about Annabella, her family, and her wish. When I was done he asked, what was Annabella diagnosis? You know, it had never dawned on me to inquire…her narrative from me will always be an amazing little girl given the diagnosis of hope, via a Disney Cruise thanks to Make-a-Wish!

Please help change local children’s narratives today! No donation is too small; every dollar is greatly appreciated! Share & tag friends!

Click on link to learn more, donate, volunteer, and/or nominate a wish kids, https://oki.wish.org/

Make-A-Wish 2018 Toledo BIG Wish® Gala!

As the old saying goes: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Three big principles of any solid financial plan are to save, spend and give. Most people forget about the giving part, though, because they think mostly about saving and spending.

But giving is just as important. It softens the heart of the giver and frees their soul from dependence on money. You’ll never walk away from giving feeling bad! (Source)

Those wise words from the money guru himself, Dave Ramsey, resonate in my mind as I eagerly raid my closet for something to wear to the upcoming Make-A-Wish 2018 Toledo BIG Wish® Gala!


Make-a-Wish Foundation is a household name, but how much do we really know about it?

The heartfelt experience of local wish kids coupled with ongoing independent research from a pediatric specialist illustrating the impact of wishes on kids battling critical illnesses will be the highlights of the 2018 Make-A-Wish® Ohio Kentucky & Indiana BIG Wish® Gala, presented by RMF Nooter, to be held on Friday, April 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn. An event fundraising goal of $150,000 has been set to help make wishes come true for at least 18 local kids battling critical illnesses in Northwest Ohio.

An event fundraising goal of $150,000 has been set to help make wishes come true for at least 18 local kids battling critical illnesses in Northwest Ohio.

Dr. Anup Patel, Section Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Director of the Complex Epilepsy Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, was inspired to conduct an academic research study of the physical and financial outcomes of a wish journey on eligible kids after observing firsthand the impact of a wish on patients. Preliminary observations of his study will be conveyed during the BIG Wish Gala. (Pics from 2017 BIG Wish Gala)


Currently, only one out of every two eligible kids experience a wish.

One of the reasons Dr. Patel has since joined the Make-A-Wish America Advisory Board is to increase medical provider awareness of the benefits of a granted wish on eligible kids. Currently, only one out of every two eligible kids experience a wish. During the Gala, wish kid Hannah, of Northwood, Ohio, and her mom will speak about how Hannah’s treatment journey inspired her to wish to be a medical student. She ultimately hopes to become a pediatrician.



 WHAT:           Make-A-Wish 2018 Toledo BIG Wish® Gala                                                 


WHERE:            Hilton Garden Inn at Levis Commons 

6165 Levis Commons Boulevard Perrysburg, Ohio 43551


WHEN:               Friday, April 13th

6:30 p.m. – Registration, Cocktails & Silent Auction

7:30 p.m. Dinner Program

TICKETS:         Tickets and event sponsorship information are available at ohio.wish.org

The early findings of Dr. Patel’s study will be highlighted at the event, with the full results to be published later in 2018. Currently, there are nearly 123 medically eligible wish kids in Northwest Ohio.

In addition to hearing the inspiring stories from kids and families whose lives have been changed by a granted wish, two local professionals will be honored by Make-A-Wish:

  • Volunteer of the Year – Linda Chaney. Volunteering to support multiple wishes at a time, Linda truly believes in the Make-A-Wish and does everything she can to make sure all of her wish kids have an incredible wish journey.
  • Medical Professional of the Year – Sue Hoover, ProMedica. Sue refers every child that is eligible to Make-A-Wish; she’s referred over 100 children during her time at ProMedica.


I am looking forward to learning more and sharing what I learn. Are you familiar with Make-A-Wish Foundation? Are you interested in learning more and/or donating or perhaps know someone who is? Please feel free to share and tag a friend. And stay tuned for my follow-up post.