ST. GEORGE — If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about Make-a-Wish Foundation Utah, plan on attending the St. George Chamber Inspiration Luncheon Wednesday.
Jared Perry, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Utah, is the featured speaker Wednesday. Perry will share the impact of granting a wish to children with a life-threatening medical condition. The public is invited to this inspiring luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 185 S. 1470 East in St. George. The cost is $15 per person. Advance reservations are recommended.
Fittingly, perhaps, the first Utah wish involved the snow.
Four-year-old Stephanie lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She had bone cancer. Her best friend Alison moved to Park City, Utah, in 1983 and told Stephanie all about her new world of ice and mountains. Stephanie wished to visit Utah to see Alison again and “to taste the snow.” That was the first wish ever granted in Utah.
The next year, a teenager from Iowa, in the end stages of a life-threatening dystrophy, asked, “Where is there snow in October? I love the holidays, and I know I won’t have another Christmas with my family. We could celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday and Christmas on Sunday, and my family could all be together for the holidays again.”
His wish came true in a cabin in the High Uintas in 1984. And, yes, there was snow. The simple joy of these two wishes demonstrated the power of a child’s wish and deepened the conviction of Utah observers that this wonderful opportunity should be available to Utah children, too.
On Hill Air Force Base in 1985, a small group of local volunteers gathered to incorporate the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah. They began operations with a $5,000 start-up grant from St. Benedict Hospital in Ogden and granted five wishes that first year to Utah children.
The first Utah wish child, however, wanted to escape the December snow. She wished for a trip to Hawaii. Debbie was 15 years old and self-conscious about the disabilities of her illness.
She confided, “I want to walk on the edge of the ocean, and lay on the beach in the sand, and feel the sun on my skin, but I want to be in a private place where no one can see me.”
Donations of airline tickets from Delta and the donation of a house on a private beach in Maui transported her out of the snow-belt and into the Pacific sun. And the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah was born.
- What: St. George Chamber Inspiration Luncheon with Make-a-Wish Foundation Utah.
- Where: Courtyard by Marriott, 185 S. 1470 E., St. George.
- When: Doors open at 11:30 a.m.; program begins at noon.
- Cost: $15 per person
- Advance reservations are recommended by registering online here.