Volunteers Make Wishes Possible

When you’re helping kids who are sick — really sick — find a moment in time to forget about their life-threatening conditions, leave the hospital and treatments behind, and come together with family for a special experience, the whole family emerges with renewed hope and courage to continue the battles of survival and march toward wellness.

Recently, Make-A-Wish® TriCounties honored two of our volunteers who give selflessly of themselves to help our children and their families experience that respite. Pediatric oncologist Dr. Francisco Bracho was awarded Healthcare Professional of the Year and KEYT News Channel 3 meteorologist Meredith Garofalo was recognized as Community Partner of the Year.

Wish experiences require expert support. From transporting kids with their medical equipment to physician supervision, the amount of coordination and oversight needed to grant a child’s wish is complex. Dr. Francisco Bracho, founding director of the pediatric hematology/oncology program at Ventura County Medical Center, has worked magic to support our program by referring children and fostering safe travel standards for wish kids allowing the entire family to experience the power of a wish.

Granting wishes takes resources, and Make-A-Wish® TriCounties was proud to honor Meredith Garofalo for her many hours of personal time to raise awareness and support of our program. Her outreach efforts engaged the KEYT News Channel 3 viewing community, resulting in more than 2.5 million airline miles being donated through the Wishes in Flight® Program, allowing travel wishes for Wish kids in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, and Ventura counties.

As a community, we are blessed to have so many people willing to give so much of themselves to help families in need. It takes a small army of volunteers to grant a wish, and thanks to them we granted 99 wishes last year. This year our goal is to cross the 100 wish mark, and we are already off to a great start. To learn more about Make-A-Wish® Tri-Counties visit

Pattie Mullins is CEO of Make-A-Wish® Tri-Counties.

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