Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Eliís wish comes true

Make-A-Wish helps valley youth take trip of lifetime


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

Eli McNees enjoys his time in the Bahamas during a Make-A-Wish facilitated trip.

'Teenage boys do stuff like play football, eat ice cream and play video games. Hailey resident Eli McNees, 14, is no different except for one other battle: He has Hodgkin's lymphoma.

McNees, who attends Wood River Middle School, recently returned from Atlantisv resort in the Bahamas, where he and his family spent Thanksgiving as guests of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho.

In 2009, national statistics estimate that 105 Idaho children will be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

"Currently, there are boys and girls throughout the state writing holiday wish lists for toys, clothes, games and electronics," said Michele Larson, development manager of Make-A-Wish. "Unfortunately, there are also numerous Idaho children simply wishing for just one more day. We try to turn magical wishes into reality for children battling life-threatening medical conditions."

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Each Make-A-Wish child is appointed local wish granting volunteers. Kim Williams and Trena Williams fulfilled that job for Eli. A class at Woodside Elementary School in Hailey helped raise money for the trip as part of the Kids for Wish Kids Program and Webb Landscape signed on as a sponsor.

Larson said there are many ways others can help children with their wishes.

People can donate frequent flyer air miles. The Idaho chapter will need about eight million frequent flyer miles to grant travel wishes this year. Adopt-A-Wish for one of the 40 Idaho children still awaiting a wish. Students can participate in the Kids for Wish Kids Program and anyone can volunteer as a wish granter.

For more information on how to a donation or get involved in the foundation, contact Larson at (208) 345-9474 or mlarson@idaho.wish.org.




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