CASPER, Wyo. — This month, Make-A-Wish Wyoming is celebrating 700 wishes granted across the state. Since its inception in 1985, the organization has been able to impact 700 Wyoming wish kids’ lives. It’s been a long journey getting to this milestone, but it has been rewarding and inspiring on so many levels for those currently working with Make-A-Wish Wyoming and those who paved the way over the past 38 years.
The Impact of 700 Wishes
The true impact of a wish is almost indescribable, as it is so far-reaching that it’s difficult to quantify.
“Having gotten to meet so many families, I’ve seen how each of them have their own medical journey. I’ve also been able to witness how each wish has a different meaning to every family, therefore having a very different impact,” Make-A-Wish Wyoming CEO Morgan Poloncic said.
Each wish also has a ripple effect that impacts many others. Including hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, board members, partners and community members who have helped grant wishes since 1985, there are countless Wyomingites whose invaluable support made the milestone possible.
The Wishes on the Road to 700
Make-A-Wish Wyoming was founded by four individuals in Casper hoping to help families by granting a few wishes each year.
The first official wish in Wyoming was granted in 1985 to 10-year-old Brian in Gillette, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. For months Brian dreamed of a Huffy BMX bike, even trying to assemble his own bike from pieces he found around town. It wasn’t too long after that that Brian’s sister saw the newly formed Make-A-Wish Wyoming Foundation and his wish for his own BMX bike was underway.
“I just love this story about Brian’s wish,” Morgan said. “Every child deserves a bike. I was so fortunate to reconnect with his family in 2015 and relive the impact that wish had on their lives.”
After reconnecting with Brian’s family, his mother and sister attended the Stories of Light Gala with the bike in 2015, the same year Make-A-Wish Wyoming celebrated 500 wishes and 30 years as an organization.
“Listening to his mom talk about his wish and the weeks after it was granted was incredibly emotional. She remembered those memories so vividly and mentioned how Brian would ride the bike every day. Even when his illness prevented him from riding, the bike sat at his bedside. Every wish sheds light and hope in the midst of tough times,” Morgan said.
Make-A-Wish Wyoming has granted wishes in every shape and color since that first wish, including the first celebrity wish in the late 1980s with Kool and the Gang as well as wishes with the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies; a wish to be a zookeeper; wishes for hairless cats, to be a YouTuber and a synthetic hockey rink; and even the wish of one wish kid, Evie Marie, whose wanted to host a concert at the Salt Lake City Children’s Hospital so all the other kids could enjoy the wish with her.
Looking Ahead to the Next 700 Wishes
Since the first wish, Make-A-Wish Wyoming has continued to grant more wishes than the founders could’ve ever imagined in 1985. Make-A-Wish Wyoming has grown considerably thanks to the dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters who are able to help provide the support to make it all happen.
“It’s so exciting to be at 700 wishes, but it makes me think about the hundreds of kids we have yet to serve. We all wish for the day we don’t have children with critical illnesses, but until that day comes, we are honored to help bring children joy right now through a wish,” Morgan said.
What Does Celebrating 700 Wishes Mean for Wyoming?
Each year, Make-A-Wish Wyoming is stronger than the year before thanks to the network of people who understand and believe in the mission. Celebrating 700 wishes isn’t just for the people today, it’s also a celebration of all those who have made wishes possible since the organization’s inception 38 years ago. This milestone is also a celebration for the many wish families.
“We wouldn’t be at 700 wishes without the thousands of people across the state working to make wishes happen for the past 38 years,” Morgan said. “Thank you to those who have helped us get to 700 wishes. We can’t wait to see what the future brings. If you haven’t been a part of the past 700 wishes, you can still be a part of the next 700. Our door is always open.”
Make-A-Wish Wyoming relies on referrals to grant wishes. It’s important for others to understand illnesses don’t have to be terminal to qualify for a wish. Parents, or those referring a child, should keep in mind that if you refer a child for a wish, you aren’t taking a wish away from another child. Make-A-Wish Wyoming has no limits on how many wishes they can grant for medically eligible children.
This chapter wouldn’t be where it is today without the amazing Wyoming communities. As time goes on, Make-A-Wish Wyoming will aim to reach more kids and grant more wishes each year. To get to the next 700 wishes, Make-A-Wish Wyoming relies on referrals of medically eligible children. People can refer a child at https://wish.org/refer-a-child.