Making Wishes a Reality [AUDIO]
Since 1983, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey has had one mission in mind, according to their President and CEO, Tom Weatherall.
"We grant wishes to children facing life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy," said Weatherall.
They are one of 62 nationwide Make-A-Wish chapters, but they are the only one in New Jersey, and are responsible for serving the entire Garden State.
Make-A-Wish of New Jersey grants between 400 and 500 wishes per year, relying on the medical community to help find children who qualify for the program. As long as they face a life-threatening condition, and have not received a wish grant from another chapter or other organization, the child is eligible.
Weatherall says that the program has reached many of these eligible children in New Jersey, but with over 600 children per year in the state facing these medical conditions, he wants to do even more.
"We want find to find all 650, all 700 children, and be able to stand in front of them and ask, 'if you could have one wish, what would it be,'" he says.
The charity is funded completely privately with reliance on volunteers as well to help make the program tick.
"The fuel in our tank comes from donations from the community," Weatherall explained, "We rely solely, 100 percent on the benevolance of the community."
Earlier this month, Make-A-Wish of New Jersey granted their 7000th wish along with the opening of a state of the art, one of a kind Wishing Place in Monroe. The building is named after Samuel and Josephine Plumeri. Most importantly, the project was funded privately with no use of their operating budget.
"Not one dollar of operating support of our wish-granting fund went to the construction of this building," Weatherall said.
To learn more about the charity and how you can you help, visit their website.
MORE GOOD NEWS
The 4th Annual East Brunswick Craft/Vendor Fair
The 4th Annual East Brunswick Craft/Vendor Fair is scheduled for December 17 from 10am to 5pm at East Brunswick High School. The event will benefit the East Brunswick High School Drama Club and the East Brunswick Young Adult Charity Players Arts' Programs. The event was created by Treazure Scapes, a local philanthropic company, in response to a reduction in state aid for arts programs throughout New Jersey. In some cases, some programs have been scaled back or eliminated due to lack of funding. The fair will feature over 100 vendors carrying a large variety of products including artwork, jewelry, handbags, gift baskets and food. To learn more about Treazure Scapes, click here.
Based in Ho-Ho-Kus, Go4theGoal Foundation is collecting items for gift baskets set to be distributed to children battling cancer in over 20 hospitals across the nation, including New Jersey. The foundation teamed with CJ Products, the maker of Pillow Pets, to ensure that each basket will include a stuffed animal. Go4theGoal was founded in 2006 by Dr. Richard and Beth Stefanacci after their oldest child was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. To learn more, click here.