A Wonderful Way of Fulfilling Wishes
Make-A-Wish Foundation has arrived in Goa to bring cheer to the incurably ill children
Renowned Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain recently flew down to Goa to inaugurate the Goa Chapter of Make-A-Wish Foundation. The trustees of the Goa Chapter are Dipti D Salgaocar and Gita Joshi.
The mission of this non-profit international organisation is to grant ‘wishes’ of children have life threatening illnesses; irrespective of their socio-economic status and religion. The Make-A-Wish Foundation offers a brief respite from their traumatic suffering by first understanding the deep psyche of the child and then realizing the child’s dream. Wish granting is an exhilarating experience not only for the recipient, the ‘wish-child’, but also for all those involved in this unique process.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation began in the United States in 1980, after highway patrolmen in Arizona helped seven-year-old Christopher Greicius realise his dream of becoming a police officer just days before he died of Leukemia. From this simple wish, the Make-A-Wish Foundation was formed to grant the special wishes of children who have been diagnosed with terminal or life threatening illnesses. Today, Make-A-Wish Foundation is spread in 22 countries across the world. And now, India too has he very own chapter, founded by Uday and Gita Joshi.
The Joshis’ mission was inspired by a personal tragedy. In 1990, their eight-year-old son Gandhar was stricken with Leukemia. Despite being taken to a top American hospital for treatment, Gandhar’s condition worsened. It was then that a social worker from the Make-A-Wish Foundation approached the Joshis and asked Gandhar what he wanted. When Gandhar wished for a trip to Disneyland, the foundation arranged an all-expenses-paid six-day trip for him and his parents. Sadly, Gandhar passed away soon after returning home. “We have very fond memories of the time spent with him there,”Gita Joshi said. “After returning we decided to set up an Indian Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help children like Gandhar,” she added.
There are four basic categories of wishes. “I want to have…..”, which may range from a cycle to a more sophisticated wish of having a computer; “I want to go…..”, which may simply be a visit to the child’s home town, or to more imaginative one of seeing the Taj Mahal in Agra; “I want to meet…..”, which could even be to meet matinee idol Hrithik Roshan or cricketer Sachin Tendulkar; and “I want to be…..” a dream to be a humble motorman of a fast train or a pilot flying high.
By now, more than 1000 wishes have been granted since the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s inception in 1996 in India, and more than 80,000 wishes granted world wide by 22 affiliates in the past 20 years.
Since the work entails timely inter-action and co-ordination with the medical fraternity, and that the work be imperatively done within the constraints of time, the need has arisen for the Foundation to open its doors to more dedicated volunteers, while at the same time downsizing its expenditure.
While thankfully acknowledging the many well-wishers from various industries who have readily and enthusiastically responded, with the growing number ‘wish-kids’ the Make-A-Wish Foundation hopes that many more Corporate Sponsors/Donors would come forward to join hands with the Foundation and share the multi-faceted and magical ‘Power Of A Wish’. The Foundation can be reached at: www.makeawish.indo.net.