The event is on track to generate $325,000.
This year, the organization plans to grant 400 wishes total, said Senior Director of Events Kristin Kyle, and she expects it to reach all of its goals. The nonprofit granted 387 wishes in Georgia last year and more than 250,000 have been granted worldwide. The average wish cost is $8,000.
She said the event will bring in about 2,500 walkers, up from 1,000 last year.
“We have a lot of new companies and new teams that are participating for the first time this year,” Kyle said.
And she said the venue changed from Atlantic Station to Turner Field to allow for more space.
She predicts participation from about 75 corporate and community teams, Kyle said, including companies, families, organizations, schools fraternities, sororities and neighborhood groups.
“There’s a lot of kids waiting [for wishes],” said John Inhouse, 2013 Walk for Wishes chair and managing director of the Atlanta Buckhead Complex for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
He said there are four categories of wishes, including “I want to be…, I want to meet…, I want to have… and I want to go.”
For example, a child can “become a police officer for a day,” he said, or meet his or her favorite athlete, have a puppy or go to Hawaii.
He said Make-A-Wish Georgia has granted nearly 6,000 wishes since 1995, when it came to the state. The organization began in 1980 in Phoenix.
Recently, Inhouse said a 4-year-old boy with kidney cancer wished to go to Disneyland.
“We sent him and his family,” he said. “It’s amazing and life-changing. In that week they can forget about those things in their lives.”
Inhouse has been on the Make-A-Wish board for nine years, and said it keeps him grounded and serves a constant attitude adjuster.
“For me as a leader, I can’t have a bad day. … Having a bad day is not sitting in traffic. Having a bad day is going to the hospital once a week for treatment,” he said. “But they’re happy. It’s a great life lesson.”
Merrill Lynch has about 80 people walking this year.
“It would be great if more people would jump in. We’re doing really well but we need more walkers,” Inhouse said. “It has changed kids’ lives.”
If you go:
o What: Walk for Wishes
o When: April 20 at 8 a.m.
o Where: Grand Plaza at Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Drive, downtown Atlanta
o Information: www.walkforwishes.org