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September Volunteer of the Month, Dave Upchurch

September Volunteer of the Month, Dave Upchurch
September Volunteer of the Month Dave Upchurch has admired Make-A-Wish Arizona since he heard the story of how it began.

It seems only natural that when Dave was looking for a charity to volunteer with after he retired, Make-A-Wish Arizona jumped to the top of the list.

“Make-A-Wish has always been on my radar,” said Dave, who learned the organization was founded in Arizona after Chris, a 7-year-old boy with leukemia, received his wish to be a police officer in 1980.

“Chris’ legacy inspired Make-A-Wish and I have always had a ton of respect for the organization. Hearing about the group of people who granted Chris’ wish and how they worked together made me want to get involved and help grant wishes, too.”

 Dave has completed one wish as a volunteer wish granter and is currently working on three more.

“My first wish kid was Dorian, a 4-year-old boy with cancer who wished to meet Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World,” said Dave. “Dorian was an unbelievable, delightful little boy and the happiest kid ever. Seeing him so delighted is what really hooked me as a volunteer.”

In addition to his role as a wish granter, Dave does a lot of behind-the-scenes work for Make-A-Wish Arizona. He said he does “everything and anything” he can to help. For example, at the Channel 12 Airline Miles telethon, Dave entered the data from the event into a spread sheet.

At the 2017 Phoenix Walk for Wishes, Dave served as a greeter before the walk, held a sign directing runners to the finish line during the walk, and helped clean up afterwards.

“Dave is always willing to jump in and goes out of his way to help in any way possible,” said Demi Simotas, a Make-A-Wish Arizona staff member who worked closely with Dave during the Macy’s National Believe Campaign. “He played a key role as one of “Santa’s elves” driving across town to pick up and deliver letters to Macy’s stores for the event benefiting Make-A-Wish Arizona.”

Dave continues to go out of his way to help Make-A-Wish Arizona because he loves the feeling of helping people.

“Volunteering with Make-A-Wish Arizona makes me feel so good,” he said. “There are so many bad things happening in the world, so it’s nice to be part of the good things. This charity helps kids in a way that nobody else really can.”

After working in the aerospace industry for 37 years, Dave is now enjoying retirement with the company of his wife, Jan, and his two rescue dogs. He also volunteers with the Arizona Chapter of the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).

“I love being able to help others now that I have the time to give back,” Dave said.

Dave’s Wish: I wish to become an astronaut and explore outer space.

Send a message of hope

With many of our wishes postponed, we want you to help keep our wish kids’ spirits high! Write, video or photograph yourself sharing a message of hope and post to any of our Make-A-Wish Arizona social media channels at @makeawishaz (tag @makeawisharizona on Instagram) and use the hashtag #WishesAreWaiting.

You can help bring hope to a child who needs it!

Send a Message of Hope

About this Blog

Make-A-Wish Arizona is the founding chapter of Make-A-Wish, the international wish granting organization. Our chapter grants incredible wishes every day for Arizona children with critical illnesses. We want to share the stories of our wishes -- and the inspiration, creativity, imagination and life-affirming enthusiasm that they bring -- with you.

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Make-A-Wish® Arizona
2901 North 78th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(602) 395-9474
Toll Free (800) 324-9474