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While the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, its impact on critically ill children and their families is truly heartbreaking. In many cases, hospital regulations have meant only one parent can be with the child during treatment, which can last months. Then, there’s the fear of an already medically fragile child getting sick with COVID.

One beacon of hope has continued to be Make-A-Wish Alabama. Over the years, the non-profit has made wishes come true for hundreds of children across the state and here in North Alabama. But the pandemic has also taken a toll on these efforts. Many fundraising events have been canceled and donations have slowed.

At the same time, the waitlist is growing. Right now, there more than 280 children are waiting on their wish to be granted. Those wishes are also more expensive than before COVID. The cost of “travel wishes,” such as a visit to a theme park or beach, were often offset by partnerships with the destination and the donation of air miles.

However, as COVID made travel impossible for many of these sick children, they changed their wishes to something they could enjoy at home with their families; things like outdoor play spaces, game rooms or pools, like the one 3-year-old Bo Elliott is still waiting on. These are not only more expensive, they also require contractors – many of whom are backed up with other projects.

While granting wishes may be more challenging than in the past, they are as important as ever. Research has shown a wish isn’t just a “nice thing” but medically beneficial to the children. Hope, it seems, is powerful medicine.

You can literally see the light in their eyes when a wish is finally granted.

And that’s where you come in. None of this is possible without community support. Support that is needed now more than ever. There are many ways to help these kids, who have already gone through more than most of us will experience in a lifetime. You have the ability to help bring them some joy. No donation is too small.

You can donate securely online here, or send checks made payable to Make-A-Wish Alabama to their headquarters: 1 Perimeter Park S. Suite 100S Birmingham, AL 35243

If you’re a contractor who would like to bring a smile to the face of a sick child, you can contact Make-A-Wish Alabama to learn about specific wishes where your expertise would be invaluable. Please call (205) 254-9474 or you can email Make-A-Wish North Alabama Development Director Lacy Fitzpatrick at