In 1999, the young cousin of my husband Sean White, founder and CEO of Whiteboard Marketing, was diagnosed with astrocytoma, a form of brain cancer. AJ was just 7 years old at the time.
AJ was one of the most amazing young boys you could ever meett. He loved magic, people, movies. . . and Adam Sandler! Shortly after his diagnosis and the dire prognosis, he was contacted by The Make a Wish Foundation to make a wish!
AJ knew right away he wanted to go to Hollywood and meet Adam Sandler. His wish was granted and he, along with his brother Mic, mom Ronna, and Aunt Colleen, went to Hollywood and made memories that still fill their hearts with joy and gratitude!
The giving from the Make a Wish Foundation didn’t stop there, and neither did AJ’s life. He beat the odds that he would not live for more than a year past diagnosis. As he kept on living, Make a Wish kept on creating memories for him and his family.
AJ enjoyed Dayton Air Shows, Monster Truck Shows, New Year’s Parties and magic shows that he would co-host. Perhaps most of all, he received continuous encouragement that helped him live outside of hospital visits, meds, and all the effects of his disease.
Sean and I fell in love with Make a Wish and its mission because of the direct effect it had on AJ and his family. Siblings and parents of children with disabilities or diseases are often overlooked, but not by the Make a Wish Foundation. They considered the entire family in all of their offerings and services.
Sean and I knew we wanted to start giving back to this organization. For our 2001 wedding, we made a donation to The Make a Wish Foundation in honor of all our guests. AJ was even our guest speaker and he thanked everyone for supporting the foundation. It was certainly a highlight of the reception and is ingrained in our hearts forever!
Soon after, we became volunteers for the Central Ohio Make a Wish Foundation. We had the best volunteer job possible: Wish Granters! Who wouldn’t want to visit a special child to find out their wish and actually help grant that wish! It was MAGICAL and LIFE-GIVING! Sean went on to serve on the board of directors, eventually serving as Chairman of the Board.
As volunteers, our first wish-child was Michael Woodfork, then we had the privilege to work with Benjamin Jones, Reid Zupanc, Bernedette Bede……the list went on of these amazing children. Each child and each wish family made an impact on who Sean and I are today. You often hear the quote that “It is in giving that you receive.” Volunteering at Make a Wish proved this to be true.
Sadly, AJ, our inspiration for so many things in life, passed at age 23, a full 16 years after his diagnosis. I know his faith sustained him and his family, but the Make a Wish Foundation also played an instrumental role.
We believe in the recent study that shows positive clinical benefits to children with life-threatening diagnoses who have received a wish!
After 12 years, Sean and I have moved on to other volunteer opportunities but our hearts are still with this amazing foundation. Our company, Whiteboard Marketing, wanted to give back in honor of the priceless gifts being a volunteer brought to us and the hope that Make a Wish brings to children and their families. Through our sponsorship, we chose to grant a wish, grant a child hope, and grant a family precious memories.
Please join us by clicking the link below. Remember: It Is In Giving That You Receive!