RIDGELAND, Miss. (WJTV) – The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Make a Wish Mississippi in more ways than one.
The main way is that approximately 80% of wishes involve some form of travel, which is still being heavily restricted, according to CEO Allison Tyler.
“We’ve had to put those on hold until the end of August,” Tyler explained. “So, we have had to postpone 35 children’s wishes this summer. So, we want to be able to provide them with that hope and strength that they need going through this time for them and their families. So, it’s been very disappointing.”
Natalie Harvey is one of those Wish Kids, along with her step-sister, Olivia. Natalie and her mom, Stacey Barlow, are both looking at the situation with a glass half full mentality.
“I had a lot of really dark days,” Harvey said. “I’d be like ‘well I get this really big, exciting trip.’ Now, I just have to wait a little bit longer. I kinda have that same attitude now. It’s gonna help me get through this, and I have something to look forward to after this.”
“They had the bone and knee replaced in their leg, and so they have titanium rods in their knees,” Barlow said. “So, it just gives them a little more time to be stronger.”
Katie Lyles is a former Wish Kid who is now teaching Special Education at Madison Crossing Elementary. Lyles said that although it’s unfortunate that they’ll have to wait a little bit longer, it will make the experience more fun when it finally does roll around.
“They always come through, and they’re not gonna let you down,” Lyles said. “Even if you have to wait, or in those cases that maybe you don’t get to have your wish. There’s still so much that Make a Wish, even if it’s not just giving you your wish. They make sure that you feel special even within your hometown.”
Donations are down, so Make-A-Wish is asking for your help. They’re asking for contributions of $35, in honor of their 35th year. They also need volunteers. If you would like to donate or contribute to Make-A-Wish Mississippi, please visit their website.