Offering Children Joy in the Face of Immeasurable Challenges

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Make-A-Wish® Michigan recently hosted their first inaugural women's initiative called the W.I.S.H. Society. Standing for "Women Inspiring Strength & Hope," the program celebrates women who do exactly what the name says!

This past year, the initiative's honorees were empowered to fund life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Over the course of the campaign, each woman helped raised funds to grant wishes for Michigan children.

As the campaign draws to a close, Make-A-Wish Michigan would like to recognize the top fundraising honoree, Allison Tanis, as the W.I.S.H. Society Woman of the Year. We caught up with Tanis to discuss what Make-A-Wish and this recognition means to her.

Why do you choose to serve the Make-A-Wish mission and wish it forward for other wish families?

From personal experience, I have seen the toll a medical diagnosis and subsequent treatment can take on a child, as well as the family. I am lucky enough to say that I have also witnessed the hope Make-A-Wish brings to those same families. It certainly did for our family. The opportunity for my daughter to dream about and anticipate her Wish and then experience it, brought her incredible joy during long days at the hospital.

These kids are often forced to grow up much quicker than they should, undergo painful procedures or treatments and feel the anxiety of uncertainty about their bodies and their health. Make-A-Wish grants them the opportunity to dream and embrace childhood. A wish is like medicine for the soul and once I felt and experienced that, I wanted to bring that love and healing to other children and their families dealing with life threatening illnesses.

What does it mean to you to be the W.I.S.H. Society Woman of the Year?

I am truly honored to be named the W.I.S.H. Society Woman of the Year. I am so grateful for the opportunity this past year has given, as it allowed me to be inspired by the other women in the society, their creativity, their stories and their desire to grant more wishes. I am also incredibly appreciative of the community around me who supported our fundraising efforts, shared my goals and helped me reach them.

What are some of the ways that you fundraised and what would you like to say to the people who supported your fundraising efforts?

Over the course of this last year, I tried to find different ways to fundraise. I shared the wish story of my own daughter, Lily, and the effect her treatment and her wish had on our own family. I asked for monetary donations reflecting the number of days since Lily had been diagnosed. I also planned a Food Truck fundraising event for our neighborhood. During the event, Patty Matters Food Truck and Kona Ice of West Grand Rapids came out and donated a portion of each sale back to our cause. Family Friendly Entertainment also came and donated his time and supplies to make balloon animals. During the event, my daughters sold stickers they had made, and we had a donation jar available for people who wanted to give more. It was a really fun way to bring our community together for a great cause!

To everyone who supported me throughout this process, thank you. I am so humbled and grateful for your support. I also hope that you know that the money you donated is doing so much good in the life of a family that could use a little extra hope.

Why should other people get involved with supporting the Make-A-Wish mission?

Make-A-Wish offers a medicine that doctors, unfortunately, cannot. Wishes provide children and their families hope, joy, an escape from reality and feeds the soul in a magical way. They gift families with opportunities to create lasting, joyful memories. Becoming involved with Make-A-Wish, whether raising money, donating, or simply spreading their message is a wonderful way to bring more joy to children facing immeasurable challenges.

Make-A-Wish is not just about giving a child something they want. It's providing the whole family with something that they need, whether they know it or not.

Courtesy of Make-A-Wish® Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish® Michigan.


Thank you to our sponsors!


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Joy Sponsor

Zip Xpress

Strength Sponsor

Jandernoa Foundation

A special thank you to all of our 2021 WISH Society Honorees!

Amy Jones

Emily Holtgreive

Heidi Cook

Kiersten Schulte

Liz VanHorn

Martha Menerick

Serina Morren

Shannon Andrus

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