When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition, their lives become filled with time in the hospital, being poked, prodded, receiving painful treatments, missing out on "normal" life, and fear. After months or even years of uncertainty, Make-A-Wish® enters with the goal of injecting hope, strength and joy back into the lives of these children, giving them the courage to fight on and comply with their medications. When a child is able to meet their hero, all fear is forgotten.
Skating around Kettler Capitals Iceplex with their favorite player, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the locker room and seeing their name highlighted on the jumbotron at a game takes a child away from thoughts of pain and suffering and brings excitement, anticipation and happiness to the forefront of their mind. The Washington Capitals have been a constant source of hope, strength and joy for local wish kids fighting life-threatening medical conditions. From granting wishes and hosting while-you-wait parties, to highlighting our chapter's need through Hockey Fights Cancer, the Capitals help Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic replace sadness with joy when local wish kids need it most.
Currently, while we grant hundreds of wishes each year, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic has over 600 local kids waiting for their wish to be granted. The Capitals have been essential in not only providing enhancement opportunities for wish kids who have extended waiting periods for their wishes, but also in helping to move Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic forward by fundraising to help us financially close the gap between wishes waiting and wishes granted.
One specific example of the Capitals organization efforts is through Hockey Fights Cancer, where local wish kids have enjoyed VIP experiences including an open skate, meet and greets with the players and special features throughout the game. The generosity of the Capitals doesn't stop at making wish kids feel special, however. The Capitals also host an auction and donate the proceeds to benefiting charities, one of which is Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic.
Another example of the Capitals caring is the inaugural Wish Upon a Par event that took place earlier this year thanks to the support of Brooks and Erin Orpik and the participation of numerous Capitals players. This event provided Capitals fans the opportunity to bid on a chance to play golf with their favorite player, all while helping to grant local wishes. You can mark your calendars for next year's Wish Upon a Par and visit www.WishUponAPar.org for more information on sponsorship and tickets.
Wishes are more than just a nice thing, a gift or even a singular event in time. Wishes impact everyone involved, and a wish come true empowers children with life-threatening medical conditions to fight harder against their illnesses. When they are granted a wish, they get more than just a great experience for a day, two days or a week. That experience improves the quality of life for them and their entire family.
When a child wishes to meet their favorite player or to be one of the Capitals for a day, the wish far exceeds their expectations. The anticipation of the wish, the days leading up to the wish, and of course, the actual wish day all play a role in a child's attitude and spirit when faced with a life-threatening medical condition. While the challenge of granting the wish of every local, eligible child remains, the work of the Washington Capitals to support local wishes through time, money and awareness efforts bring us one step closer to reaching this goal. Heroes on ice become real people and friends who cheer on children facing very adult realities.