Volunteer of the Month Jennifer Thompson says, “Make-A-Wish is a bright star that everyone can see and are drawn to like a magnet.” She was drawn to Make-A-Wish because her first interaction with the foundation was quite personal. Her son, Michael, received a wish to go to Disney World and Jennifer described the wish experience as, “the brightest time during a very dark season in our lives.” Since then, Jennifer has fundraised for and completed the Trailblaze Challenge, volunteered at numerous special events including the Kentucky Derby Classic and Picnic in the Plaza and become a volunteer Wish Granter, which she endearingly thinks of as becoming a “fairy godparent”.
Jennifer completed her first Trailblaze Challenge in 2016 and will be doing it all over again this year! During her first go around, she spent four months training for the 28.3 mile hike and raised $2,500. Although she lost some toenails and gained some blisters along the way, Jennifer said the euphoria and adrenaline she felt upon completing the challenge was unparalleled. Because of this experience, she sought out more ways to become involved in Make-A-Wish, leading her to wish granting.
As a volunteer wish granter, Jennifer develops close relationships with the wish families and children and takes great pride in helping to grant their wishes. Because of her son’s previous wish experience, Jennifer feels more deeply connected to these families, a sense of comradery. For her, the most rewarding part of wish granting is simply giving encouragement to the wish families to help bring back their hope and joy. She states, “Knowing that I am playing a small part of bringing that encouragement to them, it fills my heart to overflowing.”
Jennifer’s experience volunteering with Make-A-Wish has been life-altering not only for her, but for the families she meets. She spreads her light by encouraging hope and helping us to grant these wishes. For Jennifer, “knowing [she is] giving hope and bringing joy to a child and family that has been suffering,” is what motivates her to continue her never ending work with us.