Make-A-Wish Utah and BD grants a young girl’s wishNov 03, 2022 07:18PM ● By Peri Kinder
By Peri Kinder | [email protected]
Milly is a 9-year-old who loves science, bugs, dinosaurs, volcanoes and exploring the world. As a second-grader, she was diagnosed with a nervous system disorder but it hasn’t slowed her down.
This fall, Make-A-Wish Utah and BD Sandy threw a tropical-themed proclamation party to surprise Milly with the granting of a wish — a family trip to Hawaii. The party at the BD Sandy office (9450 State St.) was organized by the BD women’s initiative network and featured games, treats and volcano experiments for Milly’s friends and family members.
BD is one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world, with 65,000 employees worldwide. The company has partnered with Utah’s Make-A-Wish for three years.
“We pride ourselves on contributing and making meaningful relationships with the community in which we work and serve,” said Jamie Kinzer, BD vice president of integrated supply chain for vascular access devices. “We have contributed more than $70,000 in the last two years for local charity events. We’re really proud of that and just want to give back because this is where we live, too.”
Milly, a Sandy resident and student at American Prep Academy, submitted her dream to Make-A-Wish three years ago. She asked for the chance to sing with Pink but COVID canceled those plans. Make-A-Wish volunteers helped her select a second option, which was the trip to Hawaii.
“The ‘Jurassic Park’ movies were made [in Hawaii] and I want to see all the volcanoes,” Milly said, after learning her wish had been granted. “I’m so excited.”
For more than 40 years, Make-A-Wish has been granting wishes to children with critical illnesses or life threatening conditions. Summer Ehrmann, Make-A-Wish Utah development officer responsible for public partnerships, loves the proclamation ceremonies where the children learn which wish they’ll receive. In the last year, Make-A-Wish Utah granted 213 wishes to children in the state and 227 kids are still waiting for their wish to come true.
“Whenever a child wishes for a travel wish, we send the child and both parents and every sibling under the age of 18. We recognize that the impact of a critical illness diagnosis affects the entire family,” Ehrmann said. “The entire family is affected by the child’s recovery journey and treatment journey, not just our kids.”
It costs an average of $6,000 to grant one child’s wish and 80% of wishes made are for travel destinations. About 70% of travel wishes include going to a Disney Park. Since its inception in 1985, Make-A-Wish Utah has granted 4,200 wishes. Nationally, more than 500,000 children have been granted a wish through the organization.
“I work with corporate partnerships and I talk with employers about how partnering with Make-A-Wish can increase employee retention and it can increase customer retention. Everybody likes to be connected to a brand that’s doing well and doing great things in the world,” Ehrmann said. “We’re entirely funded by private and corporate donations. BD Medical has pulled together an employee giving campaign and all of the employees are helping raise money to grant one wish.”
Once the family arrives in Hawaii, the local Make-A-Wish chapter will take over the wish to make sure the family gets the best experience possible. With donations, in-kind contributions and partnerships, most children get a wish valued at $12,000.
“We just do good things for good families for good reasons, and only because of good partners like BD,” Ehrmann said. “It’s our goal to always exceed the imagination of a child at Make-A-Wish Utah. But sometimes our kids imagine so big, we can’t exceed their wish. We had a little boy who wanted a tiny dinosaur he could walk on a leash. We couldn’t make that happen.”