Make-A-Wish spreading hope during the pandemic

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Make-A-Wish has granted more than a half-million wishes worldwide since 1980. The organization provides hope to critically ill children and hasn’t let the pandemic stand in its way.

Make-A-Wish South Dakota granted a record-breaking 88 wishes in 2019. Then COVID hit, but the wishes didn’t stop.

“You pivot, you find new ways to raise funds and keep people engaged and folks have been very, very responsive. We’ve been very blessed,” Make-A-Wish South Dakota & Montana President & CEO Sue Salter said.

The pandemic has forced the cancellation of events and fundraisers, but Make-A-Wish got creative with Wish Heroes.

“It’s a 30-day campaign where we solicit folks who are close to Make-A-Wish to really do individual fundraising. They each have a goal of $1,000,” Salter said.

The Sioux Falls Stampede closes its season with Take My Jersey Night, with proceeds from the online raffle benefiting Make-A-Wish.

“Their donations are down, they haven’t been able to do things that they’ve normally been able to do, so for us to still be able to do this for them and to work with them and hopefully raise some great money means a lot to us and is probably a little extra special this year more than any other year,” Stampede President Jim Olander said.

“Since 2001, they’ve been involved with our organization and have raised more than $135,000 to support wishes,” Salter said.

Salter says donations come in many forms.

“A lot of people have airline miles that have built up and they haven’t been able to travel. If they’re going to expire or if they feel they want to donate them, once they come to Make-A-Wish they never expire,” Salter said.

Air travel isn’t currently an option, but that hasn’t stopped Make-A-Wish from changing lives.

“Hope is essential, it’s essential for all of us, but especially for children battling critical illnesses,” Salter said.

World Wish Day is Thursday, April 29th, celebrating the anniversary of the wish that inspired the foundation of Make-A-Wish in 1980. Click HERE if you’d like to donate to Make-A-Wish.

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