Business mentor and angel investor Mark Lyttleton supports a range of charities, including Make-a-Wish. This article will explore the process of becoming a Make-a-Wish Hero, looking at the impact and incredible work that the foundation does granting the wishes of children with critical illnesses.
Across the UK today, 63,000 children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions are eligible for a wish. Make-A-Wish recognises the impact of granting a child’s wish in terms of restoring childhoods that children have had snatched away from them due to their medical condition, inspiring them to believe that anything is possible. In addition, making wishes come true broadens the horizons of the children and families the charity serves, providing them with something to look forward to in difficult times and providing an opportunity for respite, distraction, family bonding, inclusion, wellbeing and social engagement.
Make-A-Wish Heroes play a vital role in fundraising for the charity, as well as helping to raise its profile. To become a Make-A-Wish Hero, supporters need to come up with a challenge that is unique enough to cut through the ‘noise’ of all of the other feats people are attempting. Challenges need to be tough but not impossible.
For some, this might mean overcoming a fear of heights to complete a skydive; learning to swim and completing their first 100 metres; or riding a road bike, or even a unicycle, for the first time. For those seeking out fundraising ideas, Make-A-Wish invites supporters to contact their challenge events team via the official website, connecting supporters who are eager to participate with events where Make-A-Wish has charity places.
Make-A-Wish Heroes are invited to bring a buddy along with them on their fundraising challenge. While many people won’t be able to chat while fighting for breath, having the support of a friend while pushing through pain barriers can be an effective distraction. In addition, it means there is someone there to document the Make-A-Wish Hero’s journey, cheering them on when they need it and providing vital encouragement.
Lindsey Thurlow is a Make-A-Wish supporter from Swindon, Wiltshire. While browsing the Make-A-Wish website for inspiration for her Hero challenge, she noticed that the charity was established in 1986. The lightbulb moment inspired Lindsey’s challenge of running 1,986 miles between World Wish Day on 29th April 2021 and World Wish Day 2022. Her ambitious challenge was the equivalent of running from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back again. Lindsey also decided that she would make her event stand out to potential donors even more by pledging that only miles from official events would count towards the 1,986 mile total (rather than including miles from training runs). Make-A-Wish Heroes need to consider their motivation. What will keep them going when it’s cold, dark, wet and hilly and they start feeling battered and blistered? Lindsey Thurlow cites her motivation as her children, combined with the desire to give something back and knowing that she can make a real difference and bring a bit of happiness.