Three-time Olympic gold-medal gymnast Gabby Douglas kicked off a very special “slide-a-thon” at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona in support of Phoenix-based charity Make-A-Wish, accompanied by 10-year-old Kendall, a Make-A-Wish kid who received a kidney transplant. Kendall’s wish to meet Douglas was granted at the Great Wolf Lodge Arizona grand opening event.
Make-A-Wish reaches milestone of 500,000 wish granted
After 40 years of wishes, Make-A-Wish has reached its biggest wish granting milestone yet. On Wednesday, September 23, Phoenix-based Make-A-Wish will celebrate having granted 500,000 wishes worldwide since the organization’s founding in 1980. The historic feat will be commemorated with the granting of Karina’s selfless wish “to give kids a day to forget they’re sick.”
Karina, a 16-year-old with lymphoma from Newman, Calif., has fond memories of her care-free days at summer camp where her problems and stresses took a backseat to fun and laughter. Inspired by Karina’s camp experience, Make-A-Wish has partnered with Karina to grant her wish by creating a virtual camp experience called “Kamp Karina” with several activities designed to put a smile on the faces of children in need.
Leading most of the activities as camp counselors will be prior wish recipients who will be showing off their impressive skills and talents. Wish kid-led camp activities include: a magic show, a science class, a dance tutorial featuring dance phenom Leon “Kida” Burns, a couple musical performances and story time. There will also be a “Frozen”-inspired drawing class featuring one of the supervising animators of “Frozen 2,” Hyun Min Lee, and Josh Gad, the lovable voice of Olaf, courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Disney is a long-time supporter of Make-A-Wish and has granted more than 140,000 wishes dating back to the first official wish. In true Disney fashion, there will be other magical surprises included throughout the Kamp Karina program.
“Those good feelings I got going through treatment for cancer are hard to find when facing this kind of battle, but although they were few, the moments that I did have whether it was through music, art, dancing, talking to a friend were priceless,” said Karina while reflecting back on her journey. “Having the opportunity to give that feeling to other kids who are going through the same thing is amazing. I couldn’t think of a better wish and I am hoping that Kamp Karina provides them peace and joy. Truly, happiness is the best medicine.”
Kamp Karina will stream live on the Make-A-Wish America YouTube page starting at 11:11am PT on Wednesday, September 23. Anyone and everyone can tune in for part or all of Karina’s historic wish.
Make-A-Wish encourages anyone inspired by Karina and the 500,000th wish milestone to help make the next 500,000 wishes come true by donating at wish.org.