Walk for charity planned

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 5, 2004

An organization that grants wishes to ill children is itselfwishing for walkers.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi will hold a Walk forWishes Saturday, Oct. 9, at Exchange Club Park. The walk isscheduled for 8 a.m. and organizers are now looking for sponsorsand teams.

“The more teams we have, the more sponsors we have, the moremoney we’ll raise for wishes in Brookhaven,” said Jane Walsh,Make-A-Wish Foundation development coordinator, Wednesday whilespeaking to the Brookhaven Kiwanis Club.

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Lisa Givens, local chairperson, urged people to form teams.

“My desire is to make it a fun event where people will want toparticipate and let it grow every year,” Givens said.

The inaugural event’s goal is to raise $25,000. That would allowthe granting of five wishes at an average of $5,000 per wish.

“Some are less, some are more,” Walsh added about wishfulfillment costs.

Walsh said eight wishes had been granted to ill children inLincoln and Pike counties within the last five years. Theorganization is working on trying to grant six wishes to ill areachildren now.

“This is a very active part of the state,” Walsh said.

Statewide, Walsh said 800 wishes had been granted since thechapter form here in 1984. The national organization was formed in1980 in Arizona.

The organization grants wishes to children from 2.5 years to 18years old with life-threatening medical conditions. The child,parent or legal guardian, medical professionals and some others maysubmit requests for a wish to be granted.

The decision on whether the child qualifies for the program ismade by a medical professional. If so, volunteers visit the childto explore child’s wishes and see what they really want to do,Walsh said.

Nationwide, Walsh said the number one wish is to go to DisneyWorld. Other wishes may include meeting a celebrity, getting a homecomputer or shopping sprees.

“The wishes are very unique,” said Walsh, who mentioned onewheelchair-bound child who wanted his chair “pimped out” like onthe MTV program. “It depends on the child.”

Speaking to the club Wednesday, Walsh relayed several stories ofwishes being granted. For many, the trip to Disney World or otheractivity, is the “highlight of their lives” and in some caseshelped the child’s condition improve.

“A lot of times, but not always, it can turn a child around,”Walsh said.

Anyone with questions about forming a team or sponsoring theevent may contact Givens at 835-5441 or 833-5381 or Walsh at800-819-4072.

“Any money that is put in will stay here in your community,”Walsh said about walk fund-raising.