The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California and Michelangelo’s Pizzeria in Old Town Clovis have joined forces every year for the past seven years to make wishes come true.
And one of those wishes became a reality on Wednesday, Nov. 8 as Michelangelo’s presented Make-A-Wish with a check for $15,067, to help fulfill a wish for Cloe, an 11-year-old diagnosed with Chiari Malformations (CMs), genetic structural defects in the cerebellum.
Cloe’s wish is to visit Walt Disney World in Florida and thanks to Make-A-Wish and Michelangelo’s, she and her family are scheduled to go on the trip Dec. 4. For best practice, Make-A-Wish does not reveal last names for their wish kids.
The funds were raised through Michelangelo’s 7th Annual Charity Golf Tournament in October. The Old Town restaurant’s fundraiser has raised over $70,000 since its inception in 2011, helping Make-A-Wish grant over a dozen wishes during that span.
“When we have someone fundraising or donating for Make-A-Wish, we match the cost that would be similar to the cost of a wish, so it’s almost like adopting a wish,” said Make-A-Wish Community Director, Cortney Snapp. “We matched [Michelangelo’s] with wish kid Cloe and they definitely raised above and beyond the cost of her Walt Disney World trip, but that’s OK because we have other wish kids that we’re still needing to fundraise for. In fact, we have 220 wishes in the pipeline right now.”
Cloe enjoys watching movies, reading, playing with her pet Huskies and is an avid Harry Potter fan. During their Dec. 4 trip to Florida, Cloe and her family will also get the opportunity to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.
“I just felt an overwhelming amount of joy,” said Crystal, Cloe’s mother, when she found out Make-A-Wish was going to make her daughter’s wish come true. “Both of my girls have been sick, in and out of the hospital. Between the three of us, we’ve had seven brain surgeries, so that’s been a lot of hospitalizations, testings, brain surgeries – and to be sort of taken out of that and have something to look forward to is just overwhelming.”
All wishes are initiated through a referral process. A child with a life-threatening medical condition who has reached the age of 2½ and is younger than 18 at the time of referral is potentially eligible for a wish. Medical professionals, parents, legal guardians and potential wish kids can initiate the referral process by visiting centralca.wish.org/refer-a-child.
“We serve eight counties from Merced County all the way to Kern County, and everything in between,” said Joel Saxton, Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Make-A-Wish Central California branch. “We have over 220 wishes waiting in the pipeline and we’re trying to grant all those wishes. For the most part they’re locally funded so all the funds stays local. We depend on fundraising [to grant wishes] and every little bit helps.”