Fairy godmothers aside, there’s no magic involved in granting wishes. It takes a lot of time, planning and hard work bring wishes to life.
We recently spoke with veteran member of the Wish-Granting team, Kelly McCabe, to learn what it actually takes to make wishes come true.
Q: What drew you to Make-A-Wish?
A: I used to work in the music business and then I had my children. I worked from home for a while, but I realized that I wanted to get back into working and outside of the house. I came across a volunteer opportunity at the Make-A-Wish office and decided to try it. I volunteered one or two times and then someone told me about a part-time administrative position. It grew from there. Now, I love my job. I don’t ever wake up in the morning not wanting to go to work.
Q: What does your day to day look like?
A: I carry my own caseload of wishes and oversee my team of three other wish coordinators. I tend to carry the celebrity wishes, wishes with more medical needs, and wishes with complex family circumstances. I usually have about 70 – 80 wishes at a time and most of them are granted in a short time period. My team and I do the front end of wishes which means we handle the family’s expectations and the medical approval.
Q: What is one of your favorite wishes you’ve granted?
A: That is the hardest question! We’ve done so many cool travel wishes – to New Zealand, Australia, Bora Bora, Thailand. I get so deep into learning about these places. I get to learn about everything from activities, climate, language, and anything else the families would need to know, and it’s so interesting to me. I also love all of the WWE WrestleMania wishes. The WWE guys are just amazing. They’ve granted the most amazing wishes and are so generous. I’ve also granted wishes to meet the Pope! It doesn’t matter the child’s age or their background. Some want to own something physical, but some really want to experience something. It’s always amazing to find out what will be the most meaningful to them.
Q: What is an obstacle you’ve overcome when planning a wish?
A: It’s always hard to manage the wish family’s expectations. Some families are nervous travelling and think I’m going to come with them! Some kids have celebrity wishes and expect to go on a shopping spree with them or go to their house, which is not going to happen. We also work to make sure that there is consistency in the wishes. Kids can meet each other and see other wishes and we want to make sure all the wishes are fair and equitable to all of the kids.
Q: Have you ever granted a wish that you didn’t think it’d be possible?
A: Some celebrities are really hard to get into their schedule. Sometimes a child will wait a long time and then it suddenly comes together in 2 weeks! It’s always challenging to get those wishes together, but I have done it before and my experience has made it easier to tackle each time.
Q: Any last words about wish granting
A: We don’t wave a magic wand and grant a wish. It’s a lot of work. Between the wish families, volunteers, and staff, what you think could be an easy wish turns out to be a lot of work. It’s all worth it in the end. We see the impact we make on families and wish kids and that’s what keeps me going!
Thank you, Kelly, for your 19 years of dedication to Make-A-Wish!