Valley residents will band together this weekend to walk for an organization that got its start in the Phoenix area more than three decades ago, and on behalf of youngsters around the world looking to have that one ultimate wish granted.
On Sunday the East Valley’s Tempe Marketplace is the site for the annual Walk for Wishes event, benefitting the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The organization was founded in Phoenix 1980 when Christopher James Greicius, who had Leukemia, wished to become a police officer. After his wish was made possible thanks to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Make-A-Wish foundation was born. So far the foundation has been able to grant more than 200,000 wishes and has gone international by offering services in Europe, South America and Asia, to name a few.
The walk, in its ninth year, is sponsored by AAA and hosted by the foundation’s Arizona chapter.
While previous walks were held at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, this is the first time it will be hosted at Tempe Marketplace.
Hollie Costello, director of events at Make-A-Wish, said that a new location was chosen because for this year they wanted a location where they could fit not only a large number of participants, but also a place where people can spend the day and be entertained.
Stephanie Dembowski, a representative at AAA, said that while the company has partnered with Make-A-Wish on numerous occasions, it is excited to sponsor the walk for the first time. Michael Tully — chief executive officer of AAA Arizona and chairman of the board of Make-A-Wish Arizona — was one of the keys in making the partnership happen.
Registration for the free event will start at 7 a.m. Sunday morning at the District Stage area. The walk itself will begin at 8:15 a.m.
The distance for the walk will be three kilomers (1.86 mile) and will take place around the Tempe Marketplace grounds. There will also be a one mile run that will start at 8:30 a.m. The public is encouraged to donate whatever they can.
Activities will also take place at the District Stage area and a celebration after the walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. Special guests expected on hand include former Arizona Diamondback Luis Gonzalez and Derrick Hall, president of the Diamondbacks. Wish Kids ambassadors, who are children whose wishes have already been fulfilled, will also be present during the event to cheer on participants.
The foundation is expecting one thousand participants and aim to raise $150,000 in donations.
For more information, visit arizona.wish.org.
If you go
What: Walk for Wishes Walk benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation
When: Sunday, March 10
Where: Tempe Marketplace
Information: (602)395-0722 or email@example.com
• Abel, a senior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact him at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.