Diane MacWilliams (right) with Linda Parck. Diane helped found the Make -A-Wish Foundation of Illinois.
A 1986 Chicago Tribune article was the first widespread communication about the local presence of Make-A-Wish, and it really started the momentum that continues today.
"It was magical," MacWilliams said of the early days when, just as the volunteers would begin to worry how to fund the wishes that were rapidly being requested, a phone call would come in about a donation or a fund raiser.
The fist wishes were granted in 1986, and since then, nearly 10,000 children in Illinois have been able to share the power of a wish®.
Given the time and effort that Diane and the other founders put in to get the chapter started, the success of the Make-A-Wish Foundation should come as no surprise. Diane has stayed connected as the organization has evolved to one of the largest Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters in the country, granting more wishes than any other chapter last year. As a volunteer in several capacities, Diane was a member of the Board of Directors and currently serves as a Director Emeritus. Through her personal and professional connections, she continues to spread the word of the mission and invite more people to experience the magic of Make-A-Wish by becoming involved as a volunteer or donor.
One project that helps keep her connected to the impact of the Make-A-Wish Foundation mission is the annual Wish Ball. As the owner of Quicksilver Associates, a media production company, Diane enlists the help of her team to help create an unforgettable experience for the 1,000 guests who attend the annual event. Every year she has a hand in crafting the program and most years, produces a video shown at the ball that is then used the remainder of the year for chapter marketing purposes.
"Diane was extremely instrumental in turning a very sad personal experience into an incredible legacy of happiness and joy for the children of Make-A-Wish and their families," said Linda Parck, a staff member at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois for more than 20 years. "Her tireless efforts, passion and skill of networking laid the foundation of where we are today. She has influenced hundreds of individuals along the way and her love and dedication of the mission remains constant, even after 25 years."
More than 10,000 children have been granted a wish by Make-A-Wish Illinois.