DES MOINES, Iowa — Dozens of wishes are now postponed due to the public and medical concerns of COVID-19. Amid all the uncertainty and fear, Make-A-Wish Iowa is launching a campaign to spread hope and joy.
“We’ve started a social media campaign called ‘Messages of Hope,’ and between our staff members, staff members across the country and across different chapters, and even celebrities such as the Jonas Brothers and Chef Ramsay, they’re sending out messages of hope to our wish kiddos so they can stay excited, stay hopeful, while they’re still enduring their treatments and waiting for their wish to be granted,” Jennifer Woodley, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa said.
During the summer months, Make-A-Wish Iowa budgets to grant more than 60 wishes, but now half are postponed. Many of those wishes included a trip out of state.
“Over 85 percent of our travel wishes are outside of the state of Iowa. Nobody’s really wishing to travel to Iowa unless it’s probably for the state fair, so a lot of our wish kids are hoping to travel to Florida, Hawaii, or many other places,” Woodley said. “Of course with travel restrictions both domestically and internationally, we are just unable to grant those wishes until those restrictions are lifted. So they are being postponed, but they are not being cancelled.”
Beyond the wishes, Make-A-Wish Iowa said it’s had to postpone three big events that make up for over 30 percent of their revenue for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus. This includes its Des Moines Gala that was previously scheduled for May 2nd, and is now rescheduled for June 13. Woodley said the number of wish families that will be able to attend will have to change, due to health concerns and social distancing.
Having to pivot with their revenue, Make-A-Wish Iowa is also starting another campaign called the “Summer of Wishes.” Woodley said it will engage with stakeholders throughout the entire state to help fundraise. She said this is its inaugural year doing a campaign like this in the summer.
“We’ve had such an amazing response from the community. You would think in a situation like this there’d be a lot of closed doors when you have those those questions to ask your stakeholders and they’ve been nothing but. They’ve been more giving than I’ve ever seen and so it’s been really neat to see the community put their arms around us and our families and our wish children to, to make sure they get their one true wish,” Woodley said.
If you can’t contribute to its fundraising efforts, Woodley said Make-A-Wish Iowa is still taking in volunteers and in search of medical advisors.
“We’re doing virtual visits now instead of in person visits and we have that pretty nailed down. We’re also always looking for medical advisors, so if there are doctors out there that aren’t on the front lines, but yet they want to contribute in a valuable way, I think that’s another great way to do so,” Woodley said.
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