FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Gleeson, Communications Manager
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Make-A-Wish® World Wish Day® Celebrations Begin This Week
As part of a month-long celebration, Make-A-Wish encourages people around the U.S. to donate dollars or airline miles to fund airline tickets for wishes that involve travel
PORTLAND, ME - April 1, 2013 – It’s a celebration more than 30 years in the making: in 1980, a 7-year-old boy received his heartfelt wish to be a police officer for a day. That one wish inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish® and launched the wish granting movement that circles the globe today. Beginning April 1 and culminating in World Wish Day® on April 29, Make-A-Wish chapters throughout the country will mark the special event with a campaign to raise dollars and airline miles to fund airline tickets for wishes that involve travel.
Six of the eight wishes being granted to Maine kids this month involve travel and to commemorate World Wish Day in Maine, 7-year-old Emersyn of Lewiston will be flying to San Diego for her wish to see butterflies and beaches. To further honor Emersyn’s participation in Make-A-Wish’s global event, she will be given celebrity treatment by Southwest Airlines at their media event as they celebrate new service to and from the Portland International Jetport.
Emersyn and her family will receive free airline tickets from Southwest for their journey to and from San Diego.
During the month of April, supporters can visit www.maine.wish.org to donate dollars or frequent flier miles in just a few easy steps. As an added incentive, WWE® Superstar John Cena® will personally match every frequent flier mile donated in April, up to 4.5 million. United Airlines will also support World Wish Day by matching the donations of its MileagePlus® members, up to 3 million miles, through April 30.
Each year, Make-A-Wish Maine grants nearly 70 life-changing wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. These wish experiences can be pivot points in the course of a child’s treatment, making them feel better and in some cases, even helping them get better. A wish-come-true strengthens families, provides moments of happiness and inspiration, and helps create strong community bonds.
Nearly 70% percent of wishes require air travel, making it a critical – and costly – resource. In fact, approximately 220 airline tickets, the equivalent of 14,300,000 airlines miles, are needed each year to get local wish kids and their families to and from these incredible experiences.
Several other Make-A-Wish sponsors are coordinating special World Wish Day promotions nationally, including Maggiano’s Little Italy®, Marquis®, Brooks Brothers, and Dave & Buster’s. The month will culminate with the announcement of a new, national sponsor.
“Air travel is a critical resource as we work to grant the wishes of Maine children with life-threatening medical conditions,” said Kate Vickery, Program Director of Make-A-Wish Maine. “Donating airline miles or dollars will allow us to continue delivering our mission to these deserving kids.”
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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 March 2013, we have granted over 1100 wishes. This coming year, the organization expects to grant the greatest wish of over 70 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®.