For Immediate Release
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Lisa Gleeson, Communications Mgr.
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PORTLAND, ME – December 27, 2012 - Make-A-Wish® Maine is pleased to announce that donors contributing to the 9th annual Season of Wishes® campaign have accumulated enough funds to grant over 19 wishes!
The goal for the campaign was to raise the money needed to grant 15 wishes, which would ensure the granting of all wishes scheduled through March 2013 (on average, a wish is granted every five days to a Maine child). The community not only met the goal, but exceeded it by four additional wishes, raising a total of $116,324.
Make-A-Wish uses this money to grant a wish that will leave a lasting impact on a child facing a life-threatening medical condition. A bulk of the organization’s spending is on airline tickets for travel wishes – an expense that is unfortunately not discounted from airlines. The average cost to grant a wish is $6,000.
“The fact that we surpassed our goal tells us that the community understands the true impact of a wish granted to a child who is fighting for his or her life,” said Tom Peaco, Executive Director of Make-A-Wish Maine. “Not only does the wish positively impact the ‘wish’ family, but the act of wish granting strengthen communities. People who help deliver our mission by fundraising or volunteering, report feeling an increased sense of compassion and desire to help others, and a greater faith in humanity. These feelings ultimately create a ripple effect of positive social value.”
To kick off the holiday campaign, wish child Alice Denecker, 4, and her sister Eliza of Portland joined Santa to light Portland Downtown District’s Christmas tree in Monument Square. This event showcases the value Make-A-Wish places on involving the entire family in the wish process and keeping spirits high while waiting for the wish. Alice, Eliza and their parents will travel to Walt Disney World® in February.
Alice’s wish will be one of the 19 directly funded from the Season of Wishes campaign. She was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma when she was three and a half years old and her treatment has included six rounds of chemotherapy, two surgeries, radiation, antibody and immunotherapy.
To promote the campaign and raise awareness, Make-A-Wish Maine teamed with radio partner 107.5/105.5 Frank FM. The station interviewed and broadcast stories from wish children, parents, donors and volunteers.
“Today is a day to be proud of our listeners, proud of our co-workers and proud to be a part of Frank FM,” said Leif Erickson, On-Air Talent and Assistant Program Director of Frank FM upon learning a new campaign record had been made. “I’m thankful to be a part of connecting with listeners on the air and telling them why the work of Make-A-Wish of Maine is so important.”
Businesses and fundraisers that donated enough to grant an entire wish or more include: VIP Parts, Tires & Service; Macy's; Kepware Technologies; Village Candle; KeyBank; Auburn Fire Fighters Local 797; Stantec; Norton Lights, Martin’s Point Health Care, The Old Village Inn, and Wrap For A Reason at the Maine Mall. Other major support came from individual donors and fundraisers held across the state.
“Most of the donations that came through were of small denominations,” said Peaco. “Even when businesses came forward to give us a large check, it was often a result of employees or customers donating $15 here or there. These small numbers added up quickly as everyone came together to help our local children during their most challenging times.”
A sampling of upcoming wishes include: Joshua, 16, of Windham who wishes to go to Los Angeles for New Years Eve; Hadley, 9, of Presque Isle who wishes to go to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas; Joshua, 9, of Jay who wishes for a room renovation; Caleb, 9, of Turner who wishes to go to Walt Disney World; Curtis, 16, who wishes to go on a ski trip to Colorado and others.
To read stories, see photographs and watch videos of these wishes, find Make-A-Wish Maine on Facebook®, YouTube®, Twitter® or www.maine.wish.org.
PHOTO CAPTION: For her Make-A-Wish experience, 4-year-old Alice Denecker of Portland will go to Walt Disney World to meet the princesses and see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter thanks to donations made to Make-A-Wish during their holiday campaign, Season of Wishes.
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The Maine Chapter of Make-A-Wish opened in 1992. As of Sept. 2012, we have granted over 1080 wishes. This coming year, the organization expects to grant the greatest wish of over 75 seriously ill Maine children, which is an average of one wish every five days. The average cost of a wish is $6,000. All money raised in Maine stays in Maine. Of the money donated, 77% goes towards program expenses (granting wishes), which is 12% more than the minimum required of non-profits by the Better Business Bureau. All wish expenses are fully covered by Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish Maine is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and all contributions are tax deductible. The Maine chapter has over 200 volunteers statewide, and a staff of six. Our office is located at 477 Congress Street, Suite M1, in Portland. For more information about Make-A-Wish Maine, visit www.maine.wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.