RICHMOND, Va. -- CBS 6 is working to highlight inspiring events happening in our community in and around Richmond, Virginia.
As part of this year's Walk for Wishes benefit Saturday at City Stadium, CBS 6 dedicated an entire evening broadcast to highlighting stories from the Make-A-Wish event that celebrates the thousands of wishes granted and raises money for future wishes.
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Walk for Wishes raises $144,500-plus for kids with critical illnesses
8-year-old boy who wished for hot tub is now playing Little League in Powhatan
Greg Mcquade introduced us to Easton Welsch last year. The then 8-year-old who was battling cancer wished for a hot tub. He is now cancer free and playing Little League in Powhatan, according to his mother.
Make-A-Wish granter explains why Walk for Wishes is 'life-changing experience'
Tammy Cummings, a wish granter and a Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia board member, told Bill Fitzgerald that the families they work with are very positive even though they are experiencing the unimaginable.
"It's interesting, because when you think about children with critical illnesses, you don't always think about happy people and happy families," Cummings said. "But it's such a wonderful experience, because they really are some of the most positive people I've ever met. And it really is a life-changing experience to be a wish granter, to see them struggling at a time where we might feel that things aren't going great for them. But they are so excited to be a part of Make-A-Wish."
‘A wish is often a turning point for a child,’ says Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia CEO
Sheri Lambert, the president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia, told Tracy Sears that having a wish granted is often a turning point for a child.
"The impact that a wish has on a child and a family and the community is really incredible," Lambert said. "In fact, 91% of wish parents share with us that they really saw a significant improvement in the child's well being because of the wish that's been granted."
Lambert said the money raised at the Walk for Wishes helps grant wishes in the Commonwealth.
"It's utilized here in Greater Virginia to grant the wishes of the kids that are waiting," Lambert explained. "We have 307 kids today waiting for their wish to be granted. And so it's really urgent that we continue raising funds because the average cost [of granting a wish] is about $10,000."
Mom calls Make-A-Wish Disney trip ‘memories we will forever hold in our heart’
One mother whose daughter died from a rare genetic disorder last year just before she turned 10, said the Make-A-Wish trip her family took with Emma Grace to Disney two years earlier was a magical respite from the stress the child endured.
Bethany McDorman, who is now fundraising for Team Emma Grace, said her daughter's trip transported her to a place of pure joy.
In fact, she told Bill Fitzgerald what the fulfillment of her wish did most was make her feel like a normal kid.
"That trip was priceless. Those are memories that we will forever hold in our hearts. We were able just to escape the day to day struggles of her disease,” McDorman recalled “She was able to go, she felt good the entire time… Of course we had to take little naps in between, you know the theme parks and different stuff, but she loved every bit of it. And everyone was so kind to us and you know through Make-A-Wish they gave us more opportunities to go behind the scenes and different areas and we were able to be Barney and baby but and you know see some of the characters and she absolutely loved it.”
McDorman planned to be at the Walk for Wishes continuing to raise money for Team Emma Grace which will help another child have a wish granted.
Man says ‘eye-opening’ Make-A-Wish dream changed how he dealt with treatment, cancer
Former Make-A-Wish recipient Charlie Hunt told Tracy Sears that wish he received when he was 14 years old changed his life.
The now sophomore at Randolph Macon College flew to Boston to watch the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team play and he got to meet all the players he "grew up watching and idolizing."
Hunt said the experience really motivated him while he was being treated fort T-cell leukemia.
"I was going through a hard time and I was stuck at home all the time not going out seeing thing," Hunt said. . "Going to see the [team] really changed how I was dealing with my treatment in cancer. It was was very eye-opening, it was very fun and it kind of just just made me forget about what I was going through."
Hunt called his diagnosis in 2016 "very rough" and said "everything that could have gone wrong went wrong."
"But I got through it. Now I'm here I am and I've been there than ever," he said.
3-year-old battling leukemia travels to see favorite baseball team
Boy’s dream of joining Richmond SWAT Team ‘started with a wish,’ dad says
Four years ago 9-year-old Matthew Martinez, who is battling cystic fibrosis, got his wish the Richmond Police SWAT Team.
His father said the two dozen members not only took Matthew in on that special day, but have fully embraced him as comrade ever since. In fact, they have taken him to training sessions, the shooting range, dinners, even showing up at the hospital when Matthew needed two weeks of treatment.
“We didn't really have a grasp on what, what they meant when they said that you're a part of the team and we're going to be here for you. They really meant it and they show up. I think he is emulating some of that. Matthew is in, you know, showing responsibility and, and understanding that, you know, completing a task is important,” Mike Martinez said. “And that's the stuff that they teach as well. Reinforcement is stuff that we as parents, so I really do feel and i mentioned this earlier, i really do feel fortunate that this whole experience started with a wish and it could have been a single day, but it wasn't is something that's been ongoing and we're really grateful that that make a wish was able to make it happen.”
Matthew said he expects to become a formal member of the RPD Swat Team when he grows up.
And his father said Make-A-Wish made that possible.
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