MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Make-A-Wish Foundation will host its annual Walk For Wishes event Saturday, April 17, 9–11 a.m., at Marilla Park.
Jackie Auten, Make-A-Wish’s regional manager, said it has changed things up this year by creating a hybrid system to make the event more pandemic friendly.
“In order to stay safe in these uncertain times, we’ve decided to switch gears and do a drive-thru edition. And, so everyone will stay in their cars, maintain a safe distance, but still have a good time. Everyone will be allowed to drive through our actual Walk for Wishes path and just have a good time. There’s going to be about seven different stops along the way, with five main stops where people can buy raffle tickets. They will pick up different door prizes, they will pick up different food and all sorts of cool stuff. It’s going to be a great afternoon.”Jackie Auten – Regional Manager
Registering for Walk for Wishes is easy, Auten said.
People who are interested can register online through the Make-A-Wish site. Anyone can join a team or register as an individual and start fundraising.
“It’s super easy,” Auten said. “It’s peer-to-peer, so we’re asking our participants to ask their friends and families to make a simple donation online, and all of that money will stay in West Virginia to grant wishes right in Northern West Virginia.”
After the two-hour event, there will be a virtual event later in the day, Auten said.
All registrants will be allowed to take part and will be provided a link.
“Throughout that evening, we will still be collecting donations because everything counts, especially right now,” Auten said. “We, absolutely, need the financial support because of the pandemic. We have lost over $750,000, so every dollar counts, in order for us to continue our mission, which is to grant one wish to every medically-eligible wish child.”
The average cost of a wish is $4,400. Recently, for example, the organization helped to make a critically ill boy’s wish come true by giving him a puppy.
“Because of donors and supporters, he has a new furry best friend,” she said.
That, Auten said, is the power of Make-A-wish and why everyone who can participate on Saturday should sign up.
“One of the best parts about our event is that it is 100% free to attend,” she said. “That is one thing that we really do try to stick to because we know everybody has something going on. So, we just want them to come out, have a good time and then open up their hearts and their wallets and make a donation so that we can continue to grant wishes.”
Anyone interested in registering can visit the organization’s website.
Make-A-Wish will also be hosting another one of its big annual events in April.
“We are very excited to celebrate our annual World Wish Day on April 29,” Auten said. “This is celebrated annually by chapters, affiliates and supporters across the globe. And, this is the anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish. We would love to have everyone support us and they can do so by going to wv.wish.org.”