Amanda Godfread regional director at Make-A-Wish® North Dakota knows that ‘Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.’ Since 1985, Make-A-Wish North Dakota has been helping grant wishes across the state. From year to year, illness to illness, and child to child, the amount and degree of wishes varies, but roughly 50 children are diagnosed with a qualifying illness each and every year.
“We know that wishes are more than nice to have. In fact, children that have a wish granted from Make-A-Wish tend to do better in their long term medical journey then children that do not. So we are more passionate than ever to reach every eligible child in North Dakota,” says Godfread. “Wishes make an enormous difference in children’s lives. They are certainly not a cure for illness, however, we know that a granted wish provides a child hope for the future. They provide them a sense of purpose and something to look forward to. They can transform a child’s life.”
The past fiscal year, Make-A-Wish North Dakota was able to reach 51 children which was an all-time record in one year’s time for the program. Wish granting takes place at the grassroots level and is not possible without the support and help from those within the community. Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T) was just one of the partners who helped to make those wishes come true for those North Dakota children.
“Dakota Community Bank & Trust’s 80 years have helped make our 35 years of Make-A-Wish North Dakota possible. The wonderful people at Dakota Community Bank & Trust have helped us with wish children every step of the way from event sponsorships and auction items to employee donations. We are so honored to have worked with your locations in Bismarck, Mandan, Dickinson, Hebron and Bowman,” says Godfread. She continues to mention, that the visible support DCB&T has provided along with funding and serving wishes directly has made a huge impact on the children of great state, “It says a lot about who you are as a company and who your individual employees are.”
In addition to DCB&T’s workplace giving, Senior Vice President Cindy Schaaf has also been a volunteer wish granter on eight wishes including three that DCB&T sponsored, and two additional that are currently in progress.
Godfread mentions that most significantly Dakota Community Bank & Trust has sponsored three local wishes for two children from Mandan and one from Menoken. Of those wishes, one child’s wish was to go to Disney World in 2015 and another child’s wish was to go to Florida to swim with the dolphins in the ocean, which was granted in 2013.
Throughout her time with Make-A-Wish North Dakota, Godfread has witnessed many unique life-changing stories. She states that one memory in particular happened just this last year on a wish she helped grant for a little boy named William. William had a brain tumor. With his brain tumor, he had some fine motor skill delays amongst other issues. Each time he was hospitalized, for various reasons, he would receive a new Lego set as something to keep him occupied during his time at the hospital. Not only did this help with his fine motor skills, but he developed a real passion for building. Because of that, he wanted to grow up to be a builder. After qualifying for Make-A-Wish, William’s wish was to go to LEGOLAND in Florida. For an entire week, William got to experience life-sized Legos, in all aspects, while learning from Lego masters on how to create masterpieces from scratch. Along with that, with the help of community partners, William was able to get experience building from another perspective – riding along in cement trucks, boom trucks, and more within a construction site. “It was a different aspect of building – seeing what it would be like to take your Lego creation and turn it into reality. It brought him to life and not only gave him something to look forward to, but was almost an extension of part of his therapy with his wish. It was very special,” recalls Godfread. The powerful belief that wishes make life better for kids drives everything she does for the program.
That, and stories like that, drive the enthusiasm and passion behind employees and volunteers at Make-A-Wish North Dakota. That passion is paralleled by community partners such as DCB&T. “As servant leaders, Dakota Community Bank & Trust has helped us make this happen for child, after child, after child over the last 35 years of our chapter,” ends Godfread.
Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a critical illness in the United States and its territories, on average, every 34 minutes. The North Dakota Chapter is driven to continue to build the base of supporters behind their cause with the end goal of having each and every wish child have their wish come true.
For more information on how to get involved, visit: https://northdakota.wish.org/.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director