Two Local "Wishmakers" Make Young Girl's Wish Come True

By Kelly Hoffmann

Pictured with Madeline are the two local “Wishmakers” (on left) Janice Gradel and (on right) Brenda Bailey who recently made Madeline’s wish come true.

NEW HAVEN, Mo. – Brenda Bailey and Janice Gradel recently worked with the Make-A-Wish foundation in Missouri to help grant a wish for six year old, Madeline, known as Madi, who has ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).

Bailey and Gradel met with Madi and her family and asked her if there was one thing she really wanted to do. Madi said she really wanted to go to Disney World, but if that couldn’t happen then she would like to go to the beach.

Bailey said after the time she and her sister spent with the family she felt as if she had known them for her whole life.

“We knew then that God would be helping grant the wish and would be helping Maddie,” Bailey said.

After the meeting, they submitted the wish to the Make-A-Wish headquarters. The wish also had to be approved by Madi’s parents and her doctor.

Bailey said three to four months after they submitted the wish it was approved.

Because her wish was granted, Madi and her family will be able to go to Disney World in October. The family doesn’t have to pay for the trip and they get to stay in the Make-A-Wish area at Disney World.

Bailey said she and Gradel plan on granting another in October. Every Wednesday, Bailey said she receives a spreadsheet about other children who have a wish.

People can help support the Make-A-Wish foundation by volunteering or by making donation to the organization. Bailey said most of the funding comes from the donations Make-A-Wish receives.

“It’s just a rewarding moment when you know the wish is granted,” Bailey said. “And it’s up to you to surprise them with something they may have wanted their whole lives.”

More on Madi

Wish child, Madi is a fun loving six-year-old. Her wish is to take a trip to Disney World.  When asked what she’s most excited about she said, “hmmm… Just everything!”

Madi has ALL. ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) is the most common type of cancer in children where the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes. These immature white blood cells crowd out the healthy blood cells and platelets rendering the child unable to fight off infections.

Even while sick, Madi has been able to remain being the happy and energetic child she was before the diagnosis. She is constantly spending time outside playing with siblings and friends in the neighborhood. Some of her favorite activities are riding her bike, swimming, swinging, and gardening with her parents and just general out door playing.

Madi was diagnosed with ALL September 4, 2012 just three weeks after starting kindergarten. She was immediately admitted to the hospital to receive blood transfusions and platelets so she could begin medications. She is currently in her 21st month of treatment and will finish in November 2014.

“When we heard the diagnosis, we pretty much went on autopilot and just did what was necessary to get Madi healthy. It’s been more emotional looking back over what she has had to deal with,” said her parents.

Currently, Madi is doing well. She has energy and is going to school most of the time now. There are many days when she gets tired easily and days she needs to stay home and rest or she falls asleep early. There are days when she is very sore, mainly in her legs, but the pain medications help. Overall, she has responded well to the treatment program she is on and her parents are hopeful for a full recovery.

History of Make-A-Wish® Missouri (Learn more by visiting their website at mo.wish.org.)

In 1983 seven VOLUNTEERS came together in Springfield, Missouri with one mission: to give hope, strength and joy to local children who were battling life-threatening illnesses. These founding board members charted the Make-A-Wish® Missouri chapter — run 100% by volunteers and funded solely from the generosity of the community.

They were inspired by fellow board member June Holman who had recently lost her daughter to a 9 month battle with Leukemia. In the midst of grieving June saw a PSA about a movement in Arizona called Make-A-Wish®, a group searching for volunteers to start chapters in all states. Using personal funds June flew out, attended the conference and returned with a kit. The rest was history.

That first year our chapter granted an astounding 9 wishes — including our first wish to 2-year old J.D who was battling cancer and wished for white poodle puppy.

Since then, because of the dedication of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors Make-A-Wish® Missouri has grown leaps and bounds. This year, because of YOU, Make-A-Wish® Missouri will grant over 300 wishes to local children who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

·         The Missouri chapter serves all 115 counties in Missouri and 6 Kansas counties that are part of the Metro Kansas City community.

·         More than 5,000 wishes have been granted in Missouri to date.

·         Granted 309 wishes last year (FY 2013).

·         For every dollar donated to Make-A-Wish® Missouri, 80.5 cents goes directly to granting a child’s wish.

·         In 2013 the Missouri chapter is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Make-A-Wish® Missouri offices consist of headquarters in St. Louis and regional offices in Springfield and Kansas City.

The Impact of a Wish

·         81% of parents observed an increased willingness by their wish kids to comply with treatment protocols.

·         A combined 89% of nurses, doctors, social workers and child life specialists surveyed say they believe that the wish experience can influence wish kids’ physical health.

·         97% of wish families and 96% of health professionals observed an increase in wish kids’ emotional health.

·         81% of parents observe an increased willingness by wish kids to comply with treatment protocols and 58% of health professionals observed this behavior in the most recent wish child they treated.

·         97% of parents said the wish experience strengthened their families.

·         97% of volunteers reported feeling more grateful and thankful as a result of helping to grant a wish.

An Inspirational Brand

·         Make-A-Wish is among the Top 10 Nonprofits in Brand Image relevance (Cone, The Nonprofit Power Brand Study, 2009, U.S.)

·         Ranke 3rd among nonprofits for consumer relevance (Cone, The Nonprofit Power Brand Study, 2009, U.S.)

·         Make-A-Wish is one of the 5 Best Charities for Kids (2011 Good Housekeeping)

·         Make-A-Wish is the 7th Most Trusted Organization (2010 Harris/Equitrend Study,U.S.)

For more information about making a donation or maybe you know of someone who you'd like to see their wish come true visit Missouri's Make-A-Wish Chapter at mo.wish.org.