Shelley first heard about Make-A-Wish when a volunteer contacted her because she was the President of the Yuma Association of Realtors and they were looking for new volunteers to help grant wishes. After hearing about Make-A-Wish and their mission, Shelley decided being a wish granter would be a perfect fit for her lifestyle, her work and her heart. Now, almost 15 years later, she has granted more than 100 wishes.
“Being a wish granter impacts your life and it makes you feel good, knowing you are doing something and giving back to kids in your community,” said Shelley “I can’t express how much this means to me.”
Shelley recalled the first wish she granted, “There was a 4-year-old girl with leukemia who wished to go to Disneyland to meet all the princesses. She was so shy, but we eventually got her to open up and soon she was so excited to go on her trip. Those moments when the child learns they are receiving their wish are the best part. After she returned, we heard about every single meeting she had. It was magical.”
Shelley is one of the top wish granters in Yuma, which sees almost 8 percent of the state’s wish kids in their area. It is such a close community, one of Shelley’s favorite wishes was for a neighbor.
“There was a young man who lived down the street from me who had lost his sister to leukemia. He was diagnosed with a blood disorder just a year later and was encouraged to refer for a wish,” Shelley continued “He wished to meet Tom Brady. Because we had talked about our rivalry before, the wish kid knew I was not a fan of Brady’s, but I was glad he was getting his one true wish and it was fun giving him a hard time about his wish choice.”
She realized “football and rivalries are just a game, but this was this kid’s one true wish and Brady did an awesome job making it happen. It was so touching.”
Shelley also is a cancer survivor and believes it helps give her insight on what these kids are going through.
“Getting to meet these kids and be a part of their life and see the strength they have, makes you realize what you can do in life because of what they are going through; they give us strength and they don’t even realize it,” she continued.
“You should not take life for granted,” she advises. “Live every day, some days are good, some are bad and we are all stronger than we think.”
If Shelley could have a wish of her own, it would be “to never have to grant another wish kid’s wish, for everyone to be healthy”.