The backlog of ungranted wishes can be overwhelming. In all, the Alaska and Washington chapter of Make-A-Wish is working to fulfill the desires of hundreds of children in the area afflicted with critical illnesses. And these wishes are important.
“Wishes are so powerful that it’s hard to put it into words,” says Jeannette Tarcha, vice-president of communications and marketing at Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. “What many may not know is that a wish granted is part of the medical plan of care and treatment for these children. Research shows that having a wish granted improves the health outcomes for many of these children. It replaces anxiety with hope, sadness with joy, and fear with confidence.”
Founded nationally in 1980 and locally in 1986, Make-A-Wish has been helping children for nearly four decades live with optimism instead of fear. And on Oct. 13, the Alaska and Washington chapter will host its inaugural Wishtoberfest at the Seattle Design Center, giving donors a new way to raise funds to fulfill all those wishes.
While Wishtoberfest will raise funds for the local Make-A-Wish chapter, the organizers say that they will be focusing the attention of those in attendance on the stories and wishes of three recipients. “Each wish is so special,” Tarcha says. “At any given time, we have about 500 children who are waiting for their wishes so it’s our goal to share the story of three kiddos who are currently waiting for their wishes. Our hope is that people will connect to these children and make a donation to help fund their wishes, and others!”
The children who will be spotlighted are as unique as their wishes. Whittaker, 3, who has a compromised immune system, is eager to travel to Florida to play in the sunshine. Pedro, who is fighting cancer at the age of 7, wants to travel to see a Real Madrid soccer game in Spain. And Leah, a 13-year-old with a life-threatening heart condition, hopes to receive cooking lessons.
Leah’s mother, Jomi, says her daughter thinks about her wish regularly, focusing her mind on that positive rather than the illnesses that affects her day-to-day health and lifestyle. “Leah is very excited about life with her wish,” says Jomi. “She is excited knowing that every day she wakes up there’s significance, and a special gift that she can look forward to every day that gives her hope for her future.”
This event is the first of it’s kind in Seattle for Make-A-Wish. A more casual affair, it will feature modern Pacific Northwest comfort food from Great State Burger, Snoqualmie Ice Cream, and KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn, as well as local wine and craft beer from some of the city’s top purveyors. “We wanted to host a fun event that really played up the Seattle food and beverage scene,” explains Tarcha. “We wanted it to be a come as you are and have fun with your friends on a Friday night for a great cause sort of feel.”
Along with the happy hour feel of the 21-and-over night out, Wishtoberfest will feature a silent auction with some fun and unique auction items to bid on, including a luncheon with Seahawks President Peter McLoughlin; a trip to Cabo from Alaska Airlines; and a make-your-own craft beer kit. Entrance for the event will be $75, which includes tasting tickets, or $125 for a VIP experience, which includes a special whisky and bourbon tasting from Woodinville Whisky.
And while the post-work get-together will definitely be fun night out—with the excitement of an auction and a satisfied, full belly—the focus of the event will not be lost. “Right now,” says Tarcha, “there are kids who are waiting for wishes because we don’t have the money we need to grant them in real-time. A wish has a real tangible effect on the health of these children. No child should have to wait for their wish. That’s why fundraisers like Wishtoberfest are so important.”
Purchase your tickets to Wishtoberfest here.