“My husband Mike served on the Board of Directors several years ago and during his term, we got to know many staff members and realized that this is so much more than a job for them,” said Jennifer. “Their compassion for these kids and what they do drew me in, and I knew I wanted to be more involved.”
Jennifer, who started out as a volunteer wish granter, now focuses her efforts primarily on orientation calls with wish families and donating to the organization each month.
“Life gets really crazy, but donating each month is a reminder that this is something we can do,” she said. “We try to give back to our community when we can, and we really like the fact that Make-A-Wish started in Arizona.”
Learn how you can keep hope alive for Arizona kids fighting critical illnesses each month
Just as Jennifer is there for children at the initial stage of a wish, she continues to maintain the relationships she’s built with wish families years later.
“After my wish kid Kaylee’s trip to Walt Disney World, we struck up a friendship and I’ve stayed in touch with her whole family since then,” she said. “I’ve gone to her birthday parties each year and, when Kaylee relapsed from leukemia, her mom called me and I sat with her in the hospital. Now she’s 16 years old and I’m so glad she still wants to talk to me!”
After watching her own kids grow up, Jennifer says she appreciates the chance to connect with so many families.
“I’m humbled by how strong the parents are, not just for their child but for their whole family and the spirits of my wish kids are unbroken. Even with everything they’re dealing with, they are always thinking of someone else. Our entire world can learn a lesson from them,” she said.
“I’ve gained so much more from these kids and families than I could ever give to them."