World Wish Day® may be about a specific day in our history, but we think it deserves to be talked about all month long. We have a lot to celebrate – it is the 39th anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of the organization.
Throughout April, we will focus on telling the stories of wish alumni whose wishes were a turning point. Through these stories you’ll see that a wish is not necessarily a last wish, but rather, an important part of a child’s medical treatment and healing.
April is important to us, but every month is important to a child fighting a critical illness. Consider a monthly donation. It may be a “set it and forget it” – but these funds will be working hard month after month to make wishes come true.
Brittany manages Wish It Forward, an alumni program for wish kids and their families.
Q: What does it mean to be a wish alumni?
A: We refer to kids who’ve had a wish fulfilled by Make-A-Wish as our “alumni.” Just like graduates, these kids and their families have taken a journey and often want to stay connected with the organization. They also see a value in being part of a community of people with common experiences that bind them together. We have active alumni members whose wish was granted 35 years ago!
Q: Why is it called Wish It Forward?
A: Wish It Forward is a take on the phrase “pay it forward.” When you pay it forward, you show your gratitude for someone’s kindness to you by being kind to someone else. This is very different than “paying back” because it fosters a cycle of positivity that can make many lives better. With the Wish It Forward program, families can be part of a larger system, contributing to a network and helping other wishes come true.
Drs. Laura and Craig Albanese are a remarkable couple. Married for nearly three decades, both are accomplished clinicians in their fields. Through their extensive work at pediatric hospitals across the country, they have seen the impact wishes can have for children and their families first hand. Despite their busy schedules, they are both personally involved in making wishes come true – by donating both their time and money – because they believe the Make-A-Wish mission is a smart investment.
Laura and Craig first met as medical students at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and married after a long “When Harry Met Sally” friendship. They left NYC soon after to start their family in Pittsburgh before moving to the Bay Area where they would reside for the next 20+ years with their two daughters, Sammy and Melanie.
While practicing in California, they frequently encountered Make-A-Wish volunteers and staff. Laura, a pediatric anesthesiologist, would often see critically-ill children and their families many times over the course of their treatment and was consistently amazed by how the wish changed the child’s perspective and how it helped to strengthen the bonds of the doctor patient relationship.