Make-A-Wish NJ granting wishes for 40 years
I’m getting choked up before I even started writing this. I’m a complete wimp who falls apart when I see a seriously sick child. It’s like every single good thing a childhood should be about is replaced by something even adults don’t handle well. Yet the grace in some of these kids is breathtaking, and I wonder sometimes if it’s because they’re so young they didn’t have a chance to know the normal life they’re missing. Which then just makes me cry harder for them.
Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the best-known charities in the country and among the noblest. You know they grant wishes for critically ill children, but in case you don’t know how they first started, here’s the backstory.
7-year-old Christopher James Greicius was being treated for leukemia in the spring of 1980. His dream was to grow up and become a police officer. U.S. Customs Officer Tommy Austin befriended Chris and worked with officers at the Arizona Department of Public Safety to plan out an experience to lift Greicius' spirits.
Chris spent a whole day as a policeman, getting his own custom-tailored uniform, was sworn in as an honorary police officer, even got to ride in a police helicopter. He died soon after on May 3rd. He didn’t get his wish of growing up but did get his wish of being a police officer.
That was the inspiration for what became the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Today there are nearly 60 chapters around the country. One of the oldest is right here in the Garden State.
Make-A-Wish New Jersey is celebrating its 40-year anniversary this year. They’ve granted over 12,000 wishes to sick children since 1983. That’s almost one every single day since they started, which is amazing.
They operate out of Monroe, New Jersey from a structure called The Samuel and Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, and it’s built as a castle. A truly magical place for sick children to decide their wish outside the cold confines of a hospital room. It’s the only one like it in the country.
Tom Weatherall, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey, says, “This mission is profoundly special and it gets into your blood.”
Happy Anniversary to a wonderful New Jersey organization we should all feel proud of.
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