MICHAEL JORDAN & MAKE-A-WISH
THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE
30 YEARS OF TRANSFORMING LIVES, ONE WISH AT A TIME
In the next hour, more than three children will be diagnosed with a critical illness. With every one of these diagnoses, a family finds itself in a lonely, helpless, scary moment in time. Parents are forced to evaluate what their new “normal” will be. Siblings will witness their brother or sister undergo painful medical procedures. And these children must find the courage to face the unknown; to cope with pain, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, stress and isolation.
For Katie, such uncertainty came with learning that she had a brain tumor at age 11. Katie’s dreams of becoming a basketball star were shattered, as she had to trade her time on the court with time in the hospital, enduring traumatic ordeals of medical tests and treatments.
Katie’s passion for basketball dimmed, overshadowed by her urgent health care priorities. But Make-A-Wish gave it new life as Katie wished to meet her hero, NBA legend and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.
“Thinking about [meeting Michael] helped me get through all of my treatments,” Katie said. “It gave me something else to dream about and think about.”
Katie’s wish was granted in December 2000, and Michael wrote about the experience in the introduction of “Wish Granted: 25 Stories of Strength and Resilience from America’s Favorite Athletes,” by Make-A-Wish with Don Yaeger: “I turned to Katie and asked her, ‘Is there anything you want?’ She just looked up at me and squeaked out, ‘Can I have a hug?’ Something inside me absolutely melted at those words,” Michael wrote. “In that one moment, I was reminded exactly why it is that I want to work with Make-A-Wish. That’s what it’s all about.”
And that is the power of a wish. A wish positively impacts the life of a child — and forever enriches the lives of those involved. It is the Make-A-Wish mission to grant life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses, like Katie. Make-A-Wish believes — and research shows — that a wish can give children the resilience, courage and confidence they need to fight their critical illnesses.
Michael granted his first wish in 1989 while playing for the Chicago Bulls — just nine years after Make-A-Wish was started — and he has been an integral part of the organization since. Over nearly 30 years, Michael has granted hundreds of wishes, going above and beyond by offering his support and undivided attention to wish kids and their families. Michael also has committed several million dollars to Make-A-Wish through his Michael Jordan
Celebrity Invitational golf tournament and personal donations. In 2008, the organization named Michael its Chief Wish Ambassador, exemplify- ing the power and reach a celebrity has by spending time with children who need them more than anything, along with the financial support that wishes require. What’s more, Michael has established himself as an advocate for wish families, particularly in the communities where his basketball ties lie: Chicago and Charlotte, N.C.
“Michael Jordan is one of the all-time greatest athletes, but he is an even better person,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “He has changed the lives of hundreds of wish kids and their families for the better, and for that, we are forever grateful.”
Although many wish kids today were born after Michael retired from professional sports, he continues to be one of the most popular wish requests. For many wish kids, Michael is a symbol of strength, a beacon of hope and an inspiration to believe in themselves. Much like Michael’s gravity-defying skills on the basketball court, meeting him helps wish kids see that the impossible is possible. One boy named AJ once shared with Michael, “Watching your videos when I was sick is what helped me get through my worst days.”
To date, Make-A-Wish and its 60 chapters across the U.S. have granted more than 300,000 wishes. A wish is granted every 34 minutes, but that equates to only one out of every two eligible children. Make-A-Wish and wish granters like Michael stop at nothing to continue closing this gap, but they cannot do it alone.
Make-A-Wish relies on monetary donations, as the average cost of a wish is more than $10,000. But wishes also require the collective dedication of doctors and its 35,000 volunteers, as well as in-kind support and airline mile or point donations (77 percent of wishes require air travel). Remarkably, no matter how one donates to Make-A-Wish, the impact can be felt almost immediately, and even a small contribution can transform the lives of children with critical illnesses. To make a donation or become a volunteer, visit wish.org/ways-to-help.
A wish can serve as a catalyst to better health. In fact, many wish kids go on to beat their illnesses and live typical, healthy lives. Katie bravely and successfully battled another tumor following her wish, and she later went on to work for the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic chapter.
AT THIS VERY MOMENT, A CHILD IS EXPERIENCING PAIN, SADNESS AND FEAR, CONFINED TO THE WALLS OF A HOSPITAL ROOM. THAT CHILD NEEDS A WISH NOW. YOU CAN TRANSFORM LIVES, ONE WISH AT A TIME. VISIT WISH.ORG/DONATE.