Take a stroll or a run past the Christmas lights downtown Dec. 21 in Make-A-Wish’s second annual Jingle Rock Run, and you’ll help make wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses throughout the state. All proceeds from the 5K run or walk benefit Make-A-Wish Hawaii in its mission to grant wishes to children with serious illnesses — as a way to give hope and joy to the children and their families.
The course will begin at 330 Cooke St. in Kakaako, continue past Honolulu Hale and finish at Mother Waldron Park. Festive costumes, strollers and pets (“especially reindeer!” as Make-A-Wish notes) are welcome.
“We started this event last year because we were looking for a way to better incorporate our wish families who wanted to be a bigger part of our efforts,” Make-A-Wish president and CEO Siana Austin Hunt explains. “Families, volunteers and anyone in the community can join us at this event and make a difference at any level of giving.”
Plus, funding is much-needed, as Make-A-Wish is granting more wishes than ever before. By the end of fiscal year 2014, the nonprofit had granted 65 Hawaii wishes — a record for the chapter. In previous years, it had been averaging about 40 wishes per year.
“(Funding) is so needed because we are reaching more wish kids statewide than we ever have in our chapter’s 32-year history,”explains Make-A-Wish communications and media specialist Jenna Blakely. “As we’re granting more wishes, of course, the need for funding increases. So this event is instrumental in helping us keep up with our vision to help more kids and grant more wishes.”
While these are significant strides, Make-A-Wish isn’t stopping there: It’s the organization’s vision to grant a wish for every eligible child in the state — and there are an estimated 100 newly eligible children each year.
All proceeds go directly toward wishes. Recent wish kids have included, Tiare, a 16-year-old batting a chronic kidney condition who wanted to cheer with the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleading team.
Another teen, Jarrinn, who has leukemia, wished to have the latest gadgets and accessories from Alienware.
“(Jingle Rock Run) will be a significant help to numerous wishes,” Blakely says. “As far as the kinds of wishes that it will go toward — that’s whatever the wish kid dreams up.”
The event also includes live entertainment by artists including Henry Kapono, Sounds of Aloha and Infinite Horizon, as well as food from various vendors, such as All Kine Grindz, Olay Thai and The Girls Who Bake Next Door.
In other Make-A-Wish news, it recently launched a Young Leaders Board for professionals under 45 who are dedicated to supporting the nonprofit. The board will oversee a Young Leaders Group — slots for which are still open. Young professionals interested in joining the group can email Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jingle Rock Run participants can register until Dec. 21 — but the cost will increase on the day of the event. Registration begins at 2 p.m. race day, followed by the keiki sprint at 5 and the 5K at 6.
To register for Jingle Rock Run, visit http://raceroster.com/events/2014/3265/jingle-rock-run-2014. For more on Make-A-Wish, visit hawaii.wish.org.