It all started with the first wish in 1981, a wish by an 8-year-old boy named Frank “Bopsy” Salazar, who wished to be transported into the magical world of inspiration and motivation at Disney®. Thirty-four years later, Make-A-Wish and Disney will grant their 100,000th global wish together. Since Bopsy’s wish, Disney has given wish kids with life-threatening medical conditions incredible memories that can provide the hope, strength, and joy they need to fight their illness. This February, Make-A-Wish is celebrating all Disney has done to strengthen the families and communities where we all live, work and play.
A Disney wish is one of the most popular wishes that Make-A-Wish receives each year – ranging from once-in-a-lifetime meetings with favorite Disney talent and visits to Disney theme parks, to extraordinary trips on Disney Cruise Lines®. In 2014, Disney contributed millions of dollars through the donation of cash and theme park tickets to help grant these wishes.
“It is always rewarding to have the support of an organization that can make such an impact on our global mission. Our long-standing partnership with Disney is even more extraordinary – as our values and support of children and families worldwide have been so deeply engrained in our goals for nearly 35 years,” said Jon Stettner, president and chief executive officer of Make-A-Wish International. "We look forward to impacting even more lives around the world through our strategic partnership with Disney in the future."
Disney’s support of Make-A-Wish extends far beyond the wish experience. In 2012, Make-A-Wish, as a signature partner, secured a grant from Disney, and every year since has received grants to help build wish infrastructure and other capacity-building programs. Disney-owned ESPN has showcased incredible sports-related wish stories on their annual “My Wish” series, this summer marks the series’ 10th anniversary; which has since grown to feature children from South America through it’s Spanish-language “Mi Deseo” series on ESPN Deportes. The company encourages Disney VoluntEARS to contribute their time and talents to further the Make-A-Wish mission. The timeless bonds and memories Disney has created have helped kids through treatments, helped them overcome doubts and despair, ultimately, helped them feel and get better.
Throughout the month of February, Make-A-Wish will showcase Disney wish stories on its website, worldwish.org, sharing the story of just a few of the thousands of wish kids impacted by their Disney experience. Make-A-Wish is proud to call Disney its longest tenured sponsor and sincerely thanks Disney for more than three decades of generous support through granting 100,000 wishes – and counting - since that first wish in 1981.