Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

November 22, 2022
Making Wishes Come True

Tooele Make-A-Wish helped 100 wishes to come true 

Carolyn Nash, a local Make-A-Wish volunteer, was recognized for granting over 100 wishes with her partner, Salt Lake City resident Irene Wiesenberg, by the organization earlier this month.

The celebration was held the evening of Nov. 11 at the Make-A-Wish Utah location in Murray.

During their party, the two volunteers were presented with Make-A-Wish Utah’s highest award — “The David Bishop Hope Through Wishes Award.” This award was created in honor of a child who credits the Make-A-Wish program for his survival of his illness.

“This is an award that we give to people who understand that wishing truly does matter,” said Jared Perry, Make-A-Wish Utah’s CEO. “We gave this award to both Caroline and Irene, because they are deserving wish granters who together have granted over 100 wishes.”

Only 10 Make-A-Wish Utah employees and volunteers have received this award. Nash and Wiesenberg are the first pair to receive the award together.

“To grant 100 wishes is a special feat,” Perry said. “It means you’ve been with Make-A-Wish for a long time and you’ve been with children when they are experiencing their very worst moments…How do you say thank you for granting 100 wishes? These two women have truly been an inspiration to many children and their families as well.”

Nash has been with Make-A-Wish for 15 years and her partner, Wiesenberg has been with the foundation for over 20 years.

Together they have granted 107 wishes.

“We are some of the oldies but goodies,” Wiesenberg said laughing

Nash joined the foundation after her friend Wiesenberg told her about her time at Make-A-Wish.

“Irene would tell about the wishes she was in the process of doing and it really intrigued me and interested me,” Nash said.

The wish-granting process begins after Make-A-Wish receives a referral from a doctor, family member, or child themself stating that the child has a life-threatening illness or condition and wants to participate in the program.

After the referral is received, the request is verified by a doctor and Make-A-Wish assigns two “wish granters” to the child and their family.

The wish granters, who become a liaison between the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the child, find out the child’s greatest wish by asking them a series of questions.  

“We want to know the child’s heartfelt wish,” Wiesenberg said. “We don’t want to know their parents’ wishes or their siblings’ wishes. We want to know the child’s wish.”

During the interview process, the wish granters get to know the child, including their likes and dislikes.

Once the wish is decided upon, a request is sent to the child’s doctor for approval.

“We want to make sure the child is well enough and we want them to be able to really enjoy the wish,” Wiesenberg explained.

When all plans for the wish are made, wish granters host a party for the child celebrating their wish at the Make-A-Wish location. During their party, the child is able to “raise a star”.

“The kids receive a star and they write their name and what their wish is,” Nash said. “Then, we raise their star to the ceiling [where they hang].”

Make-A-Wish pays for all costs related to the child’s wish and the whole family is able to participate in their child’s wish.

As a pair, Nash and Wiesenberg have granted all different types of wishes. Among the most popular are Disney World trips. They also have sent kids to Hawaii and Paris.

Many children want to meet famous individuals or public figures. Nash and Wiesenberg have helped children meet the Utah Jazz, former Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Gordon B. Hinckley, and the band Nine Inch Nails.

The pair has also granted wishes for a playhouse, hot tubs, a sports court, jet skis, horses, college tuition, go kart racing, drum sets, and shopping sprees with limo rides.

“We actually took a horse into a hotel ballroom to tell this little girl that her wish had been granted,” Nash laughed.

“They actually followed the horse with a pooper scooper,” Wiesenberg added while also laughing.

Together, Nash and Wiesenberg have granted wishes all over Tooele County, as well as all over Utah. Nash and Wiesenberg have granted all but two of the wishes in Tooele County.

The pair have worked on up to nine wishes at a time.

“I love seeing the joy in not only the child but the child’s family,” Nash said. “It really does bring them a lot of joy.”

Nash wants to encourage others to serve in their community.

“It’s a life-changing experience,” Nash said. “It makes you feel good, because you have made others feel good.”

Make-A-Wish was founded in 1980 in Phoenix after the community came together to grant the wish of a little boy with leukemia, James Greicius, who wanted to be a police officer, according to Perry. The Utah chapter was founded in 1985. Today, Make-A-Wish has granted hundreds of thousands of wishes.

 

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