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Wish Blog

Dec 20, 2019

35 for 35 Fundraiser Profile: Kim Gavenman

As the year winds down, we must express our gratitude to our Wish Heroes who have been fundraising for our 35 for 35 campaign.

They have been hard at work in their efforts to raise 35 donations of $35 in honor of our 35th anniversary as a chapter. 

Today, we're chatting with Kim Gavenman, a wish mom and Make-A-Wish advocate who has already raised an amazing $3,425 to help grant more life-changing wishes for kids like her son Max, who received his wish in 2017. 

“Kim has gone above and beyond as a Wish Hero this year,” says Development Manager Kristie Figone Ishoo. “We are incredibly touched and grateful for her support! It means so much when our wish families chose to give back in this way.” 

What brought you to Make-A-Wish? 

When my son Max received his wish, it was a game-changer. Shortly after his high school graduation, Max suffered a stroke as a result of radiation he received to combat his fight with brain cancer. Make-A-Wish stepped in to give him something incredibly special to look forward to - attending the premiere of the new Star Wars Movie. This incredibly generous gift provided constant motivation for Max to work hard toward rehabilitation. It made him feel special and appreciated for the extra life hurdles he's had to maneuver. 

Why are you participating in 35 for 35? 

To me, it’s the easiest message in the world. I posted on my Facebook and hit the goal immediately! People love to feel like they are doing something happy for people that are struggling. Kids are such an easy soft spot and Make-A-Wish has a great reputation and people know their money is going to something really good. I’m only asking for $35, and I think the majority of the people who donated to my page gave more than that because it’s the least you could do. It’s an easy story and my community was doing anything they can to help my kid. 

Why is Make-A-Wish to dear to you? 

I’m a wish mom. It was just a totally incredible experience from the beginning to the end. I felt it was really helpful in the pursuit of his recovery. It just gave him that happy little bright spot and thing to look forward to. The wish helped us through some pretty difficult stuff. It’s such a vital thing for kids and young adults to have something to look forward to when they are going through the toughest times of their lives.  

Is there anything about Make-A-Wish that surprised you? 

When our son was first diagnosed, we turned down a wish. We felt like we didn’t want to take away from other people who couldn’t afford to have one. As we continued to go through, as sick as he was, one of our social workers said to us that we should really take him to have a wish. She explained that this isn’t about money. It’s an opportunity to let them do something special. We are really glad we gave in and did it because it was super meaningful for him and it was definitely an experience we wouldn’t have been able to have, no matter how much money we could’ve thrown at it. 

What was your family's favorite part of the wish experience? 

The way our whole family was treated from beginning to end. We flew on Virgin Airways and they could not have been kinder. They were super warm and invited us on the plane ahead of time and put my son in the cockpit. You don’t ever get to do that kind of thing. And just the way we were greeted everywhere we went. My husband and Max had an incredible experience. They took so many pictures and got to meet all the stars of the show. It couldn’t have been better.  

There’s still time to make a year-end gift! When you donate, you're giving children renewed strength to fight their illnesses, bringing families closer together and uniting entire communities.

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Check out articles and blog posts about Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area and how it is impacting wish kids, their families and the community.

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Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area
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