CLINTON — Granting the wishes of children fighting life-threatening medical conditions is something of a saintly nature, but for the volunteers with the Make-A-Wish foundation, it is a passion that knows no limits.
For 23 years the Clinton County chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation has granted more than 120 wishes to area children, donating more than $1 million to do so, and it all started as an idea between president Barb Jacobsen and vice president Joni McDonnell.
“The chapter started in 1991 by me and six other people,” Jacobsen said. “My husband had a co-worker who’s child was sick at the time and I wanted to do something for him. I was watching ‘Oprah’ that day and she was talking about the Make-A-Wish foundation and I thought it was cool so I did some research. That’s how the chapter was formed, and that child got his wish.”
The Clinton County foundation has since grown to become Iowa’s largest MAW chapter, generating more than 50 volunteers throughout the county, a number that continues to grow each year.
And without that support, says Jacobsen, their vision could not be a reality.
“The only way we run is through donations and volunteering,” Jacobsen said. “So we’re lucky we have very good support in our community.”
Their biggest support comes from their annual gala, which will take place April 12, at the Vista Grande in Clinton, typically generates around $40,000 from ticket sales, silent auction bids and other donations.
And this year McDonnell expects to reach, or even exceed, that goal.
“The gala is our biggest event of the year and we have already raised over $20,000 and sold out the 463 tickets,” McDonnell said.
In addition to the ticket sales, the group also will generate fundraising through the silent auction which features items donated from area businesses and individuals.