Make-A-Wish East Tennessee celebrates major milestone

Published 11:12 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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By Angela Cutrer
Star Correspondent
Make-A-Wish East Tennessee celebrated a major milestone this fiscal year: It granted 106 wishes, which is a record for the chapter. The previous record was 78 wishes in 2018.

“We got here through hard work, but also with the help and support of board members, volunteers and especially donors like you,” said Garrett Wagley, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish East Tennessee, to the citizens of Carter County and the rest of east Tennessee.

“Granting a record-setting number of wishes is an incredible accomplishment for the Make-A-Wish East Tennessee staff and board. We couldn’t have reached this milestone without the generous support of donors, volunteers, event attendees and in-kind supporters,” Wagley added. “But the most powerful thing about granting more wishes is that the healing power of a wish gets delivered to more east Tennessee children battling critical illnesses. These local children get to experience the hope, strength and joy that come from a wish.”

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A recap of Make-A-Wish’s fiscal Year 2023 is as follows:

* WishtoberFest Radiothon raised $17,000.
* Grandstand Classic 2023 raised $133,000.
* Run for Wishes 5K in Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities had increases in participation at each location since last year’s events and raised $11,000.
* The telethon on WJHL in Johnson City raised $170,000.
* Tuesday, Sept. 15 – Dutch Bros Coffee: Buck for Kids
* From now until supplies last – Nikco Sports is selling their Tennessee Vols National Championship 25th Anniversary Football. They are giving $5 from every sale back to our chapter! Click here to grab yours!
* Wednesday, Sept. 30 – Tennessee Whiskey Festival
* Friday, Oct. 13 – Cards for Wishes Poker Tournament at Ruth’s Chris in downtown Knoxville
* Oct. 26-27 – WishtoberFest Radiothon on Rock105 in Chattanooga.

“It’s certainly been a terrific year,” Wagley added. “Especially coming off the past several pandemic years. But we’re not done! There are local children waiting on a wish. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer than possible. We need local supporters to continue to help make wishes happen.”

Now with the new fiscal year upon us, Make-A-Wish is, as always, working hard to grant as many, if not more, wishes as possible. Currently, there are 120 East Tennessee children waiting on a wish. There were 247 kids on the waiting list in 2021.

The following is a schedule of upcoming Make-A-Wish events in eastern Tennessee where donors and sponsors can help grant a wish for a child in need:

The chapter has also recently announced its monthly donor campaign launch. “Our chapter relies heavily on consistent giving,” Wagley said. “Launching a monthly donor program has been a goal for this chapter for a long time. With the help of local partners and some guidance from Make-A-Wish America, we launched our chapter’s very own monthly giving site.

“People in Elizabethton and across the region can help make wishes come true all year long by becoming monthly donors. With a gift of $20 or more each month, they are supporting wishes right here in our local community. Plus, we’ll send them a WishMaker T-shirt to celebrate their support of local kids.”

Donors can sign up to give at least $20 a month on a credit card, or make a one-time donation of at least $240 to receive the special edition WishMaker T-shirt showing your support. Visit the website for more information or to sign up.