"For me, the impact of a wish is enormous,” explains Dr. Jennifer Pope, an oncologist at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC. “What I see as a physician when a child describes the wish planning, and then experiences the wish, is a child without the burden of disease.”
In 2017, Dr. Pope experienced the impact of a wish in several capacities with our chapter: she referred over 10 of her patients for a wish, saw 8 of her patients have their wishes granted, and was a W.I.S.H. Society Honoree where she raised over $12,000!
Dr. Pope sees the medical impact of a wish every day as a pediatric oncologist. However, she didn’t want her experience with wishes to stop within the walls of the hospital. Last fall, she chose to take part in our chapter’s annual Women Inspiring Strength and Hope Society. This group brings together the community’s most dynamic and inspiring women – women who believe in making a difference – and empowers them to act on that belief in a fulfilling and measurable way. Nominated for professional success, civic achievements, and commitment to philanthropy, 15 to 20 inspiring local women are recognized as W.I.S.H. Society Honorees. Over the course of a 2 month campaign, they make a lasting impact by raising funds to grant the wishes of children in the community.
In September and October of 2017, Dr. Pope worked tirelessly alongside all honorees to bring awareness of Make-A-Wish to their circle of friends and network of peers, and in doing so, raised over $270,000. This achievement is one to be praised, but is even more commendable when realized where the funds will be used – to grant over 45 wishes! A wish truly goes beyond any type of monetary value, as Dr. Pope underscores in explaining that “a child experiencing the wonder of the wish and getting to revel in the joy of being a kid full of hopes and dreams and wishes. That is priceless.”
Dr. Pope’s passion for Make-A-Wish has been prevalent for most of her medical career – since she first learned about the organization when she was a hematology-oncology fellow – and she encourages others to get involved in Make-A-Wish as soon as possible: “Don’t overthink it, just do it. It will absolutely change your life by showing you how much your time and energy can help the community’s most deserving children.” For her, Make-A-Wish is a fun conversation that she gets to have with families after she’s had “downright terrifying” conversations in her first visits with patients. “It is so nice to have a conversation that has nothing to do with medicine. I love talking about the wish process, and hearing my patients brainstorm about the endless possibilities.”
When asked about her favorite wishes, it is no surprise that Dr. Pope says she cannot pick just one out of the hundreds she’s seen come to fruition. Instead, she says that she loves the wishes “that match perfectly with a patient’s personality and passion,” and that her favorite part of the wish process is hearing about the wish afterwards.
In 2018, Make-A-Wish Central & Western North Carolina will grant at least 360 wishes for local children. Since 2013, the funds raised by W.I.S.H. Society honorees have granted 195 local children’s wishes. Our mission statement says that “together, we create life-changing experiences for children with critical illnesses” – our chapter is honored to partner together with passionate individuals, such as Dr. Pope and all W.I.S.H. Society Honorees, in order to reach and grant the wish of every eligible child. If you are a medical professional that is interested in learning how to be involved in W.I.S.H. Society, or any other initiatives within our chapter, please contact Dana Nobles at firstname.lastname@example.org.