What Makes Make-A-Wish Extraordinary?
08/01/13 Brad Vynalek
Brad Vynalek is a Commercial Litigation Partner in the Phoenix office and Chair of the Board of Directors of Make-A-Wish Arizona.
Here's what is extraordinary about Make-A-Wish. Nearly thirty years ago, a few highway patrolmen heard about a child named Chris. Chris was really sick and he had a simple wish. He wanted to be a motorcycle patrolman. So, the patrolmen got together a uniform, sunglasses, a motorcycle, and granted Chris's wish a few days before he passed away. That is where it all started.
Today, Make-A-Wish is still headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona where it was founded (just a few miles from our downtown office), and it has expanded to include 62 chapters nationally and internationally. Chapters across the world literally make wishes happen for children with life threatening medical conditions. In the Arizona chapter alone, there are several hundred volunteer wish granters who have helped to grant more than 4,300 wishes in its 33 year history.
Make-A-Wish is most extraordinary for the impact it makes collectively for the child and the family. You see, when a child is diagnosed and is dealing with a life threatening medical condition, the child and the family are at an all time low point. The wish is a simple way to give the child the power to focus on something else. It gives respite at the time most needed. Make-A-Wish does all the planning, sifts through the details, and creates a wish experience where the only effort that is required is a smile.
Not too long ago, I was honored to be at an emergency wish fulfillment through my Board work with the Arizona chapter. My family was with me, too. The little girl wanted to be a princess. Make-A-Wish Arizona, through its volunteers, created the most amazing princess party imaginable for the little girl, her extended family and friends. I do not want to go into what an emergency wish means, but suffice it to say that the memories are cherished forever by the family.
During the past six years, I have worked as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona chapter to steward the opportunities of those wish granters to make a difference in lives of children and families when they needed it most. It has been an honor to secure individual support, recruit board members, cultivate corporate giving, and grow the organization.
This year, I am privileged to serve as Chair of Board of Directors the Arizona Chapter, the founding chapter of this now international organization. During my entire time on the Board, Quarles has supported my every effort. Like in all things worthwhile, I am humbled by the great richness of experience that far outweighs my personal commitment.
At the start of every board meeting, a wish child reports on their personal wish experience. And, so, we are routinely reminded of our mission and the higher cause we are supporting. Here's to an Arizona original that makes the entire world a better place.
If you are interested in learning more about the Arizona Chapter of Make-A-Wish, please visit us at www.wishaz.org.