“A friend of mine received a wish and as I learned more about Make-A-Wish Arizona, I decided to raise money through a dodgeball tournament,” said Kenny, who started Dodging For Wishes and donates the proceeds to help Arizona children facing critical illnesses.
While hosting a fundraising event seemed overwhelming at first, Kenny received lots of help from his community.
“When people see how passionate you are about something, it makes them want to help,” he said. “The local dodgeball league, Cactus Dodgeball, supports us and I work with friends I know from the dodgeball community and more and more people come to the event each year. People actually flew to Arizona to be part of our most recent tournament.”
In fact, Dodging For Wishes has grown tremendously, from raising $1,300 in its first year to more than $5,500 this past year.
“There are a lot of sports-related fundraisers out there but Dodging For Wishes has a way of bringing the community together and people started joining the league because of that,” said Kenny. “People get competitive with one another to give back because it’s a great cause.”
Kenny, who works in video production, recently had the opportunity to become more involved with the organization’s mission when he was hired as the video manager at Make-A-Wish America.
“Being hired was one of my favorite memories and I get to create videos that feature different Make-A-Wish kids and supporters,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the country and get to know so many wish kids and share their stories.”
“This work has definitely changed me as a person. I appreciate my life more, and I know not to take things for granted,” Kenny continued. “Everyone I work with is so positive and after seeing how wishes help kids through their journey, I really believe in the power of a wish.”
One thing Kenny has learned from his experience is there are different ways that people can choose to support a cause.
“Giving back isn’t just about money. A lot of people donate their time and services for our event and I think there’s something very valuable about giving the gift of your time because you can’t get that back,” he said. “Whatever you’re able to give, know that you are making a difference.”
If Kenny could have his one true wish, he would choose to go back in time to tell his grandma ‘I love you’ before she passed.