Doing a Wish Grant with Make a Wish Philippines is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I understood the positive effect it has on the children. So before the holidays set in, a few of us from the Blissful Brands & Businesses Group started a simple chat thread on Facebook and started to plan a wish grant for two preschool aged kids — Ezra and Krystel, both with life-threatening illnesses — who wanted to have their wishes granted.
The “wish grant” by the Make a Wish Foundation is an experience that brings hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening illnesses. According to their website, 89 percent of health care experts around the world believe that the wish granting experience can influence a “wish kid’s” health in a most positive way. Eighty-one percent of parents of wish kids also observed that after wish grants, their children were more willing to comply with their treatment protocols. Most of all, 99 percent of parents affirmed that the wish grants give their children increased feelings of happiness, which has often resulted in a turning point for the children during treatments (i.e., some get well or start on the road to wellness).
Who wouldn’t want to give these children all that?
Each wish grant is more about creating an magical experience for each child, giving them a day that they will remember forever. As sponsors, we were encouraged by the Make a Wish team to think out of the box to make magic happen for Ezra and Krystel.
First in order was the venue. Earth Kitchen in Bonifacio Global City let us use their venue without needing to meet the regular rate for events (Thanks, Melissa, Pinky and the EK team!). To create a “magical” effect in the venue, we had the gracious support of White Box PH, a company that specializes in ready-made party paraphernalia that are hard-to-find or make. For this party, the ladies of White Box went with the colors of Make a Wish (white and blue) and created a “winter wonderland.”
Once the venue design was in place, we sounded a call for volunteers who would want to give through talent, so that the wish kids and the party goers would be able to enjoy some entertainment. For this, we were blessed to have volunteers from among the Blissful Brands & Businesses members. The first performance was by our youngest volunteer, Yanthy Dumadag, the son of my friend Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag of the Hands-On Parenting While Earning workshops and consultancy. Yanthy is a talented keyboardist who is also a homeschooler, and has been playing the piano during daily Mass, so for this wish grant, his offering was a number of Christmas songs. So impressive!
The next set of volunteer entertainers was Make Believe Philippines, a company dear to my heart that specializes in creating magical storytelling experiences and events for children (owned by my cousin-in-law, Lesley Leveriza). The first Make Believe experience I ever had was when they came to do a Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed birthday craft party for my son Vito’s 2nd birthday, and I remember everyone loving it so much! So for the wish grant, Make Believe prepared a moving story about Juanito, who learned how to make the world a more colorful and happy place. Both the adults and the kids in attendance were super psyched and involved during the performance, which is really a trademark of the Make Believe team’s interactive stories.
The Make Believe Team also brought with them their trademark face painting station, so that the kids could have some colorful fun. Our wish kid Ezra had them paint his favorite superhero emblems on his arm, to his delight. Meanwhile little 3 year-old Krystel wanted lots of flowers.
Last but not the least, the talented indie artists of World Extravaganza, led by Ms. Crystal Lin, rendered some acoustic tunes for us, including an original song. “World Extravaganza is a community arts organization dedicated to organize events and design programs with the mission to promote, advocate, and communicate music and the arts to the general public.” I suddenly remembered my days in youth group band, while listening to these guys and girls. I can’t explain how much music has an invisible power to touch the heart, especially when the musicians making it truly love their craft, as these young men and women do. (You’ll find them on weekdays at Frank & Dean’s at Burgos Circle during Open Mic sessions — check out their Facebook page for schedules!)
We transitioned from the last song by WorldExPH into the actual Wish Grant portion, which Ezra and Krystel were not expecting. As it is done during wish grants, the wish kids were led to sit in front of the party crowd, facing the people with their eyes blindfolded. Everyone scurried to get the gifts in place while I gave some instructions on what was to happen.
Once the gifts were in place, we counted down before the kids were instructed to take off their masks and see all the presents before them. They were in shock at the pile! The Make a Wish team had gone to great lengths to make sure our donations from the Blissful Brands & Businesses group would go into getting Ezra and Krystel the toys on their wish list. For Ezra, a “big remote control car,” and for Krystel a Barbie and Barbie house. They ended up getting all that they wished for, and more!
Both Ezra and Krystel suffer from blood thalassemia, a blood disorder caused by the body’s lack of hemoglobin, which is a crucial component of our red blood cells. It’s a treatable disorder, which means that both wish kids will be undergoing blood transfusions and chelation therapy for the rest of their lives. While it’s hard to imagine these two beautiful kids have such a condition to live with, it’s possible to keep helping them on a regular basis. You can contact Make a Wish Philippines on how to donate and how to organize a wish grant for other wish kids. Trust us, it’s totally worth it.
We hope you enjoyed this recap of the Ezra – Krystel Wish Grant! You can view all the pictures from the event over at our photography sponsor Amari Moments’ Facebook Page.
We’d like to thank:
Make Believe Productions for the interactive story-telling & face painting activity
World Extravaganza for the songs & entertainment
Yanthy Dumadag and his mom, Teresa Dumadag, for the piano solos
White Box PH for the venue decorations
Earth Kitchen, for letting us use the BGC venue
On behalf of the Blissful Brands & Businesses group on Facebook: Thank you, dear volunteers! You just made two kids incredibly happy with a wish grant that they shall surely remember for a long time.