Catharine Beall, 6, has craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumor that happens most commonly in children. Beall will visit Walt Disney World in October with her family.
According to Emily Gray, communications manager for Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee, Beall and her family will spend about a week at a special resort.
“They’ll be staying at Give Kids the World Village,” said Gray. “They try to make each day like a party. They have like karaoke nights and different themes throughout the week.”
Give Kids the World Village is an 84-acre, nonprofit resort in central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Hilda Rosalez, 17, has leukemia and will receive a camera and a laptop in December.
“We don’t have it all fleshed out yet, but we want to connect her with a local photographer,” said Gray, “hopefully someone who can teach her a lot about her new camera. We’re also going to try to get a bunch of programs installed on her computer.”
The Make-A-Wish foundation in Middle Tennessee is privately funded and receives no government support in funding the wishes they grant.
According to Gray, the majority of the funds come from individual and corporation donations, as well as fundraisers and events.
“We try to get the community involved,” said Gray. “We hold a gala in January and a Walk for Wishes event in April. We try to make the walk as family friendly as we can, like we invite businesses to sponsor teams and families come out there, too, with young kids, so it’s a pretty good family event.”
The organization recently held an event at Mt. Juliet High School called Kids for Wish-Kids, where students at the school raised money to grant the wish of a local girl.
Gray said fulfilling wishes for children has been “fantastic.”
“Getting to see firsthand the impact a wish experience can have on a family in the throes of battling a critical illness is incredibly inspiring,” said Gray. “Our organization has the privilege to create a life-changing experiences for children at one of their darkest times. We are well aware that we wouldn't have that opportunity if it weren't for dedicated volunteers who give their time, diligent health care professionals and community members who refer children and generous individual and corporate donors who provide valuable resources. Catharine and Hilda are just two of the more than 150 local children who are waiting for their wishes to be granted. We've had the honor of granting more than 1,500 wishes in Middle Tennessee, but there is still a lot of work to do.”