HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) -
A dozen children in the Commonwealth will soon see their dreams come true after hundreds of folks walked in their honor Saturday. The inaugural “Walk for Wishes” event sponsored by Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia was held in Henrico.
More than 300 people pulled on their sneakers to walk two laps around a lake at Dorey Park to raise money for the foundation which grants big wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Before the walk began, 8 News Anchor Amy Lacey had the honor of emceeing the event and granting a surprise wish to 13-year-old Jarrett Frush, who has cerebral parsley. Make-A-Wish is sending the teen and his family on a week-long RV trip to Disney World in June.
"It's absolutely amazing. You know, we plan to stop at all different landmarks along the way and take pictures," said John Frush, Jarrett’s father. Frush said his family has never been able to go on a real vacation since his son’s birth and they are grateful for the opportunity now.
Currently, there are 218 kids throughout Virginia waiting on a wish to be granted. Saturday’s event raised more than $85,000, enough to fund 12 wishes.
Laura Hamilton said Make-A-Wish offers a unique opportunity for kids to focus on their life, instead of their medical condition. Her son, Ethan, got a wish granted last year. The five-year-old was born with rare birth defects and has already undergone 10 surgeries. Make-A-Wish sent Ethan and his family to Disney World for a week.
"It was so amazing, being away for a week, having no doctor's visits, no problems that we had to worry about,” Hamilton said.
She said when she found out “Walk for Wishes” was coming to Central Virginia she assembled a group of 30 relatives and friends to walk and raise money for the organization. "We wanted another family to have that special feeling that we got to have with our Ethan," Hamilton said.
Amanda Downing recently had her wish of singing in a recording studio granted. For years, she suffered from brain cancer and she said Make-A-Wish brought her happiness in a dark time. She walked on Saturday to afford other kids the same opportunity. "So many kids are going to be happy and that's just amazing," Downing said.