APRIL FEATURED VOLUNTEER
Kim Grispo is a true Make-A-Wish superstar! During her time with Make-A-Wish, Kim has played many important roles including event volunteer, wish granter, wish captain, and most recently wish parent. She has been involved since her senior year at the University of Iowa where she was a student alumni ambassador. In this role, she partnered with Make-A-Wish for a special event benefitting the pediatric oncology patients at the University Hospital. Kim remembers this event as the first time she was touched by the true power of a wish.
"It was such an amazing day for me and I was inspired to be a part of Make-A-Wish from that day forward," Kim recalled. In 2003, while living in St. Louis, Kim trained to be part of the Make-A-Wish Speaker's Bureau. Three years later, she moved back to Chicago and became a wish granter. She now lives with her husband and two daughters in southwest suburban Plainfield where she serves as wish captain for Will and Kankakee counties.
In January 2012, Kim became a wish parent herself. Her daughter, Hannah, 6, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and was referred to have her wish granted.
"I am now finding myself on the other side of the Make-A-Wish experience as my daughter is now a wish kid," Kim says. "Her wish is to go to Disney World and we will be going this coming June. Planning the trip and looking forward to her wish has helped Hannah during the most difficult times, particularly last summer, when her treatment regimen was quite intense and she needed something to be really excited about."
Kim's most cherished part about volunteering with Make-A-Wish is meeting the wish kids, their parents and their siblings and getting to know them on a personal level.
"Our wish families have, and are, undergoing such stressful times and I strive to bring a bit of joy into their lives and help them see that they are not alone and that they are cared for by many others. My family has been the recipient of so much love and support since my daughter's diagnosis, so I can attest to the important role that we all play in the lives of our families, friends, neighbors and strangers. Make-A-Wish helps children and their families understand how cared for they really are."
"I have received so much heartfelt gratitude from my wish kids and their families that I know that we absolutely bring joy and light into the lives of those who are struggling. I really am grateful to be involved with Make-A-Wish. It has given me a wider perspective on life and a greater appreciation for what really matters. I am blessed to have gotten to know my wish kids and their families. They have allowed me to bring joy into their lives and they have brought much joy and comfort into mine."
Kim's favorite memory throughout her years of volunteering happened during one of her first wishes; that of a teen named Brian. Brian's wish was to have his very own boat.
"Like many teenage boys, he wasn't overly expressive in our meetings but he did know exactly what he wanted in his boat," Kim says. "He was very helpful in guiding us to find the boat of his dreams."
This particular wish will always be close to her heart because, as Kim explains, "I will never forget his face on his wish day at the moment when he first laid eyes on his new boat-his expression of overwhelming gratitude, excitement and pure joy was worth more than words could say." After receiving the boat, Brian took Kim and her wish partner out for a ride. "I wasn't sure that he would ever go back to shore!" Kim remembers, "This wish was pretty labor intensive, but it was so fulfilling. I truly felt blessed to be part of this wish, and the lives of Brian and his family."
Make-A-Wish Illinois would like to thank Kim for her amazing volunteer work. We are extremely lucky to have her as a part of the Make-A-Wish team and we would not be able to make the wishes of so children come true without the ongoing support of volunteers like Kim. She puts her heart into every wish, making each one a special and individual experience.
Many doctors tell us that a wish is powerful medicine. The doctors provide the medicine and we provide the magic!