“I wish to be, I wish to go, I wish to meet, I wish to have.” These are the magical questions in the wish-making process that have guided the granting of more than 1,700 wishes of children with progressive, degenerative, or malignant life-threatening medical conditions by Hudson Valley Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation . I recently had the privilege of attending the annual Wish Gala, and took few moments to speak with Denise D'Amico, Vice President of Program services, on the work of the Foundation.
"Each child is guided in discovering their wish through a wish game. We try to get them to
think out of the box and come up with two wishes, and through the process of elimination,
and we come up with a wish to be granted,” says Denise D’Amico. A dedicated staff of eight, along with community volunteers, and medical professionals keeps an average of 120 wishes, in the creative works throughout the year. Planting a garden, meeting the New York Yankees, throwing a party for medical staff who helped a child through cancer treatment - the wishes are deeply personal and unique to each child, “Doctors provide the medicine, we provide the magic,” says D’Amico. The actual wish itself is a gift to a child, but the wish process is also equally powerful. “It helps children and their families to focus on something positive, take a break from their illness," says D’Amico, “We often hear from wish kids later on. They’ve let us know that how pivotal their wish experiences were in their life, enabling them to envision a future beyond their illness.”
D’Amico has worked at Make-a-Wish for 12 years strong, and I asked her what keeps her inspired. “I am energized by the wishes. There are always new wishes: I see how the wishes make a difference in giving the children and families the courage to fight on through difficult odds, and it inspires me to be a better person.”