HealthLinks Charleston May/June 2022

94 | www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com HEALTHL INKS IS PROUD TO PARTNER WITH THESE CHARLESTON AREA NONPROFITS COME TRUE Have you ever wanted to make someone’s wish come true? South Carolina women have the opportunity to do just that by signing up to be members of the W.I.S.H. Society. W.I.S.H. stands for Women Inspiring Strength and Hope, and that’s exactly what these women do, explained Crystal Alifanow, director of communications at Make-A-Wish® South Carolina. “Each of these ladies signs up to fundraise the amount of a wish for a child, which is around $7,500,” she said. What can be more inspiring than helping to grant a wish for a child? One of the misconceptions of Make-A-Wish is that a child has to have a terminal illness. “Many of our wish kids go on to live healthy and fulfilling lives,” Alifanow said. “I truly believe that [their granted] wishes are part of that process.” Another misconception about Make-A-Wish South Carolina, Alifanow said, is that the organization has a big pool of funds from which to draw. While Make-A-Wish is a national organization, each chapter is its own 501c3, and funds raised in South Carolina stay in the Palmetto State. “We're very grassroots,” Alifanow said. “We are funded by individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Right now, we have more than 500 wishes waiting to be granted because of COVID delays. Our pipeline of children is extensive. The only thing holding us back from granting a wish is funding.” The goal is to grant at least 185 wishes to critically ill children in South Carolina this year. No child’s wish is turned down. If a wish can be granted, it is. “Pre-COVID, we were granting 209 wishes a year, so we're really excited that, despite COVID, we've been able to maintain a really high number of wishes granted,” Alifanow said. When a child is dealing with a serious illness, that wish can be a light to look forward to while enduring painful operations or treatments. The sooner that wish can be granted, the better. With nearly two years’ worth of children waiting for their wishes to come true, donations are more important than ever. “These kids are feeling more isolated than ever,” said Alifanow. “They are medically fragile, and quarantine was even tougher on them than everybody else. They definitely need the joy and the hope from a wish to have something to look forward to.” There are other benefits to becoming a member of the W.I.S.H. Society. In addition to bringing joy to a child battling a serious illness, it’s also a networking group for women, with group socials and an awards luncheon in January, where By Christine Steele