Nearly four decades after the San Diego chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation was established on December 21, 1983, the organization’s singular focus has remained the same – to make a difference in the lives of children dealing with critical illnesses. Make-A-Wish began as a volunteer-run organization that relied on the community to come together to make each child’s wish a reality. Almost 40 years later, Make-A-Wish San Diego continues to bring the community together to grant every wish without delay.
The chapter’s first official wish was granted in early 1984 for Emily, a 4-year-old who wished for a family trip to Disneyland. Most of that first year was spent hosting kids from other communities who wished to visit San Diego. The top requests? To visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld! Since its founding, Make-A-Wish San Diego has granted over 5,000 wishes to local children and hosted thousands of other kids from across the country.
On June 15th, the organization teamed up with the San Diego Padres to grant its milestone 5000th wish! Eric, a 6-year-old battling a brain tumor, dreamed of meeting his favorite baseball team. When Eric’s wish journey began several months earlier, he was using a wheelchair while working to regain mobility he had lost during treatment. His medical team rallied around his wish and focused his physical therapy sessions to build the strength to walk onto the field and throw out the first pitch. Eric’s wish served as constant motivation and on his wish day, he was so proud to walk on the field alongside his baseball heroes. For kids dealing with a critical illness, a wish creates joy in the moment and represents hope for a brighter future.