MILWAUKEE - Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s annual "Walk for Wishes" is going virtual this year due to the coronavirus. It is a week-long event running Aug. 22-29, and you can be a part of it.
Kelci Wunschel had her wish granted several years ago and is now sharing her story to inspire others to give in order to help other Wisconsin kids with life-threatening illnesses get their wishes granted.
Kelci is looking forward to starting her freshman year of high school this fall. She wants to be a two-sport athlete, something she and her mom at one point never thought would be possible.
Kelci, now 14 years old, was born with cystic fibrosis – a hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. At the age of nine, Kelci got the chance of a lifetime.
“I wanted to go to Brewers spring training because at that time I was a real, real diehard fan of the Brewers.,” says Kelci.
Make-A-Wish Wisconsin granted her wish by flying her and her family to Arizona with full VIP status.
“I remember meeting all the Brewers and throwing out the first pitch which was pretty cool,” says Kelci.
The trip was so impactful Kelci and her family want to make sure other kids battling life-threatening illnesses get their wishes granted too.
“Make-A-Wish did such a great thing for me,” explains Kelci. “They can do all those kinds of things for other people and make them happy too even if they are going through hard times.”
“For these kids and their families just to have that time and space away from the realities of what they deal with on a daily basis,” says Forrest Doolen, marketing director for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. “Those moments mean so much and make such a big difference in their lives.”
Doolen has been with Make-A-Wish Wisconsin for 13 years, but this year's Walk for Wishes will be a first for him. It's going virtual.
“I don’t care if they’re in Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Eau Claire,” says Doolen. “They can participate in this year’s Walk for Wishes so that’s the good part of this.”
This year, the support from the community is needed more than ever with many wishes on hold due to the coronavirus.
“The average cost of those wishes just in cash is close to $7000,” explains Doolen. “So just do the math and it’s millions and millions of dollars we need to raise every year to make these wishes a reality.”
Right now more than 430 kids battling critical illnesses are waiting to receive their wish from Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. They are working hard to grant the wishes they can grant now safely and are preparing to grant travel wishes at an unprecedented rate once it is safe to travel for wish families. Walk for Wishes participants can give hope to these kids through the power of a wish come true.
There is still time to register for the Walk for Wishes. Visit Wisconsin.wish.org/walk.