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Make-A-Wish Foundation making teen's wish come true

December 14, 2009|By BRIDGET DiCOSMO

HAGERSTOWN -- The Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic Inc.'s Hagerstown field office has only been open since late spring, but personnel there are preparing to celebrate their first wish.

At their holiday open house event Tuesday afternoon, volunteers and staff members will host a "bon voyage" party for a 17-year-old girl from Frederick County, Md., who will visit Nashville, Tenn., for the first time the day after Christmas, said Judy Mann, manager of the Hagerstown field office.

The open house will combine the party with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the new office, Mann said. It is open to the public.

Because the teen chosen as the first wish child sponsored by the Hagerstown office has always been interested in the music industry, she wanted to go to Nashville and learn more about the recording process, Mann said.

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The Hagerstown office covers Frederick, Washington, Garrett and Allegany counties.

There are 65 chapters of the Make-A-Wish foundation in the country, and two of them -- the office in Hagerstown and one in Bethesda -- are in Maryland, Mann said.

The nonprofit organization grants wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses to "enrich the human experience with hopes, dreams and joy," Mann said.

Staff members use recommendations from physicians and parents to identify "wish children," then consult with the child's regular physician to make a decision.

"We leave that in the hands of the doctors," Mann said.

Children also can apply to have their wish granted.

The next step involves helping a child figure out his or her wish, Mann said.

"Volunteers will then go to the child's home and help them brainstorm, and think about what kind of wish they might be interested in," Mann said.

Make-A-Wish raises money to pay for the wishes through in-house and external fundraising efforts.

Money raised locally is always used to support the wish of a child who is from the area where the fundraiser was held, Mann said.




If you go



What: Open house

When: Tuesday, 4 to 7 p.m.

Where: Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic Inc. Western Maryland field office, 13424 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 204, Hagerstown

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