I strongly believe that God puts people in your life for a reason. Some are in it for a short while and some may stay a lifetime. It is interesting that some of the ones you meet for a brief moment may have a bigger impact on you than some you know for a lifetime.
Through my work with Make-A-Wish Georgia, I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet some incredibly amazing families. Some of those wish kids and their families have made a lasting impression on me and shaped me to be the person I am today. One in particular, Matthew, is a young man that drives me to be the most dedicated to Make-A-Wish to this day.
Prior to my role as a board member and Wish Ball Chair, I was a Make-A-Wish Georgia donor. I liked to support Make-A-Wish by adopting wishes. On one particular day, my family was being honored at a luncheon for the wish families that we had adopted. There were probably seven wish families in attendance and they were all great. But there was something about Matthew and we connected.
I am not sure if it was his gorgeous ear-to-ear smile, crazy artistic abilities, his wild sense of humor or just general great personality. We just clicked! I spent time with the other families but Matthew and I continued to find each other. He told me all about his trip to Hawaii: swimming with dolphins, visiting Pearl Harbor; you name it, they did it! I have never been so proud to be a part of something in my whole life. Because of Matthew’s infectious grin, I never even noticed all of the scars on his bald head from his many,surgeries. This kid had it all. I was smitten.
I thought about my experience with Matthew and knew I would donate money to Make-A-Wish Georgia forever. After that day, I made it a point to ask about Matthew and keep up with him. A couple of years later, I was told that Matthew had passed away in his mother's arms on Mother’s day. I was devastated.
I could only wonder why would God bring this wonderful child into my life and then take him away. For two days, I couldn't function. Finally, it occurred to me. I needed to be more involved with Make-A-Wish. They needed more than my money. They needed my time, enthusiasm, drive and passion. That is why I do what I do. That is why I say, yes we can raise a million dollars for Georgia's children. We cannot leave any child waiting for the next fiscal year because their lives are extremely precious and sometimes all too short. We have to grant those wishes now.