If Charlie Powell had his way, organizations like Make-A-Wish wouldn’t exist.That’s because, in a perfect world, children would not be sick, and there would be no need for Make-A-Wish, says Powell, Fort Worth regional council chair and ex-officio governing board representative of Make-A-Wish North Texas. For Powell, who has grandchildren of his own, it’s difficult to see children suffering through illness, spending weeks at the hospital or undergoing multiple surgeries.
But sadly, that’s not the reality for many families, Powell says, and Make-A-Wish is the least he can do to help.
“With all the diseases some of these children have, and some of the expectations, and some of these surgeries, to hear some of these young children that are my grandchildren’s age talk about being in the hospital for weeks and weeks, and they’re on their fourth surgery at four years old or whatever – to see the light in their eyes, you wish you had more [time] to give to it,” Powell said.
Make-A-Wish North Texas granted 635 wishes last fiscal year and at least 80 wishes since the fiscal year began in September. The organization is completely funded with private donations, and much of the funding comes from events like Delicious Wishes, an annual fundraiser in which participants enjoy food prepared by local chefs, as well as watch a child’s wish be granted on the spot.
According to Jessie Wente, development director of Make-A-Wish North Texas, December is typically a busy month for wish-granting, since children are on Christmas break from school and have more time to travel.
The wishes that the organization has granted over the years have ranged from celebrity meetings to trips to Disneyland or Hawaii. Powell remembers one teen who wished she had a horse. Make-A-Wish was able to bring her one, complete with a saddle.
“When they brought that horse in, saddled up, it was amazing to see the look on that young lady’s face,” he said.
Powell said that Fort Worth is a generous community with many referrals often coming from local physicians from medical organizations like Cook Children’s. He said he encourages Fort Worth to not just give, but also volunteer, whether it be on a board or as a “Wish Granter” who does the work to make a wish come true.
“There’s plenty of need here to keep granting these wishes,” Powell said.
And while Powell says he wishes children didn’t have to be sick and use services like Make-A-Wish, he’s grateful for the opportunity to at least help make things better.
“I wish we didn’t have it,” he said. “But as long as we have children with these types of medical conditions, I’m glad there are these types of organizations like Make-A-Wish to put, hopefully, a bright spot in their day.”
More information on volunteering at Make-A-Wish North Texas can be found at ntx.wish.org/volunteer. To learn more about how to donate, visit ntx.wish.org/donate.