It’s not just wish kids and their families who find lasting change through Make-A-Wish®. Richard & Janis Sell are proof that Make-A-Wish is just as meaningful for volunteers and supporters.
As both a volunteer and a supporter, Janis started their Make-A-Wish path as a wish granter for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. Today, Janis and Richard are lead legacy donors and members of the Legacy of WishesSM Society.
Origins of Believers
More than 13 years ago, two family friends had children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Their wishes came true, and Janis recognized a perfect outlet for her energy and skills.
"Both families were so delighted with Make-A-Wish – with how they were treated – and how they went the extra mile to not only grant the wish, but to have other things set up for them to do," Janis says. "I thought 'that was really cool, I can do that.'"
As a wish granter, Janis is convinced that wish experiences help kids and their families feel better. She sees the difference when they return home from their wishes. They have more hope for their future. Some of her favorite examples: Leo just celebrated his 11th birthday, even though his outlook was poor before his wish nearly four years ago; Audrey, 8, is doing well four years after her wish, too; and 6-year-old Brady’s wish to have a playground for special-needs children still inspires his community.
Kindness for the Future
The Sells know Make-A-Wish needs every supporter, now and in the future, to grant the wish of every eligible child. They chose to leave a legacy gift through their estate because they believe every wish is important. And they want their investment in Make-A-Wish to last as long as possible.
"When I’m gone and I’m not here to do those wishes or to be able to donate … I wanted them to still have that," she says.
Richard and Janis also see qualities in Make-A-Wish that satisfy donors who expect their largesse to be used wisely. The organization devotes more than 79 percent of every donated dollar directly to granting wishes. The Sells are confident that their legacy will "take care of kids who weren’t given a fair chance at life" and they encourage others to do the same.
Lifting Each Other Up
Today, the Sells find an emotional lift in every interaction with wish kids, their families and their friends at Make-A-Wish Wisconsin.