Rhode Island Monthly: A Wish Come True Celebrates 40 Years of Granting Wishes to Local Children with Life Threatening Illnesses
September 27, 2022
Support Sydney and others for 26th Annual Westport Rock, Rhythm & Blues Fundraiser
August 20, 2021
Don't forget to sign up for the 26th Annual Westport Rock, Rhythm & Blues Fundraiser to support Wish Kids like Sydney and others.
Rocking For A Good Cause
August 18, 2021
Read about the Rock N Jock charity event to support A Wish Come True from the Cranston Herald or the Warwick Beacon.
A Wish Come True Meets a Community Gap in Services
June 10, 2021
A Wish Come True, the oldest wish-granting organization in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, has expanded its mission to include providing additional support for families that have a child with a life-threatening illness.
A Wish Come True is the only wish-granting organization in the area that provides these additional supports, which include a financial assistance fund, a self-care program for parents and soon for Wish Kids.
We are now granting Wishes AND providing resources to the families because we listened,” said Mary-Kate O’Leary, the Executive Director of A Wish Come True. “The families love their Wish experience, but they also indicated that they come home to difficult challenges emotionally, physically and financially and they have no one to turn to.”
A year and a half ago, the organization launched the Meghan K. Duffy Memorial Hardship Fund, named after the board chair’s daughter who passed away at 11, before her Wish could be granted. Often families who have a child with a life-threatening illness face financial hardships due to overwhelming medical bills and excessive transportation to doctor’s appointments for treatments. These tremendous expenses often leave very little money to spend on extras such as cleaning supplies or toiletries. Oftentimes, parents are required to take time off of work to care for their child. The hardship fund provides $1,500 in support to families in crisis for basic needs such as bill payments, rent, groceries, or car repairs.
“It is a tremendous stress on families. While there might be resources out there to help, our families have no time at all to look because they are so worried about their own child. It’s a gap in services that no one is addressing, which is why we decided to step up and do something,” O’Leary said.
So far, 15 families in Rhode Island and Massachusetts have received over $22,000 in assistance from the fund.
Last year, A Wish Come True was unable to grant Wishes as it normally does because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it lent a helping hand to families during the holidays. For Thanksgiving, the organization gave families turkeys and gift certificates. At Christmas time, it provided $23,000 worth of gifts to 43 families.
“My kids wouldn’t have had a Christmas without A Wish Come True. Financially, we were barely making it,” said Jerilyn Dupuis, the mother of two children with a progressive tumor disease. At the time, Dupuis’ husband was also dealing with his own health condition, which forced him out of work and on medical leave right before Christmas.
Dupuis and her husband have also been supported in another program. The Wish of Wellness for Families, a partnership with Raffa Yoga in Cranston and Integrative Healthcare Solutions, brings 20 mothers and fathers together once a month for a day of support group meetings, educational presentations, and self-care. Activities include yoga or an Urban Sweat experience, such as sitting in a sauna or steam room.
“Being able to genuinely relax and learn how to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically is a huge thing because we put ourselves last so often. Our kids always come first,” Dupuis said. “Having a few hours to de-stress makes such a difference. We recommend it to any Wish family. The best part about the group is that we all find support in each other since no one else really understands what it is like unless it is your own child.”
A Wish Come True is planning on expanding The Wish of Wellness, which began last August.
These new programs are examples of A Wish Come True’s deep and lasting commitment to the families it serves.
“They really do understand and go above and beyond, and my family is so thankful,” Dupuis said.
A Wish Come True currently has two full time staff and two part time staff. Two employees are Wish Moms and, most recently, a former Wish Child was hired. The Executive Director is a sibling of a child that passed away, the Board Chair Colleen Duffy’s daughter passed away and a former Wish Child is also on the Board. They have surrounded themselves with expertise and remain committed to their mission to grant children suffering with a life-threatening illness a magical Wish.
To learn more about how you can support a wish kid and their family, please visit our website www.awish.org.
ABOUT A WISH COME TRUE
A Wish Come True, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization founded on October 8, 1982. We are the oldest wish granting organization in RI and MA. Our mission is to provide wishes and resources to families with a child (ages 3-18), suffering with a life-threatening illness that live throughout Rhode Island and Southeastern MA.
A Wish Come True, Inc.| 1010 Warwick Ave., Warwick RI, 02888 Office: 401-781-9199 | Mobile: 401-644-2237
New Staff Member
Welcome Jerilyn Dupuis
February 15, 2021
Very excited to announce Jerilyn Dupuis as our new part time Book Keeper! Jerilyn is incredibly passionate about A Wish Come True! She has years of management and business experience and even more importantly she is an incredible Wish Mom!! Her daughter Zoie received her wish last year and her son Jacoby will receive his wish this year! The entire family has been wonderful donors to other Wish Families! We are excited to have TWO Wish Moms working for A Wish Come True!! Together we make an incredible team!
New Board of Directors Member
Welcome Paula Pais Leach
December 3, 2020
We are pleased to welcome Paula Pais Leach as a new member of our Board of Directors. Paula is the Senior Vice President / Director of Planning & Administration for Customers Bank New England Commercial Lending. With over 30 years of experience in the banking industry, she is responsible for all budget, financial and operational activities relative to a commercial portfolio of more than $1 Billion in New England. Paula also oversees all marketing, volunteer, and charitable activities in the region. She has volunteered and served on multiple boards such as the Narrows Center for the Arts, LPGA Amateur Golf Association in RI, Sisters of Mercy, and RI Food Bank.
"Our Board truly serves as the backbone of our organization and they share our passion to help as many wish kids and their families as possible. We are excited to welcome Paula to the Board. She immediately volunteered to take on the Treasurer position and her commitment to helping others will be a great asset to the Board," stated Colleen Duffy, Board Chairperson.
New Board of Directors Member
Welcome William Finnegan
December 3, 2020
We are excited to have Finetco representatives join our Board of Directors! William (Bill) Finnegan and his wife, Kerri, created a startup company in 2002, NETWORK Piping, which quickly grew into an international distribution company with locations in RI, NY, and MO. In 2011, the Finnegan’s sold NETWORK piping to a private equity firm, and in 2012 purchased Coventry Lumber as their first exposure in the retail lumberyard industry. Since then they have purchased three additional yards, West Haven Lumber and Waterford Building Supply in CT, and E L Morse Lumber in Wareham, MA.
The Finnegan family is heavily involved in numerous charitable endeavors, including scholarship funding, holiday meal distribution, and the direction of the Finetco Charitable Foundation, which raises and distributes approximately $35,000.00 per year to numerous organizations.
With a strong commitment to philanthropy, Bill requested that Finetco maintain a position on the Board and he would like to have his sons serve as Board Proxies so that his family can work together towards advancing the mission of A Wish Come True.
- Sean Finnegan is the Financial Controller for the Finetco Family of Lumberyards. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Business in 2014.
- Evan Finnegan is currently the Purchaser for the Finetco Family of Lumberyards. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Business Administration in 2019.
- Ryan Finnegan is an outside salesperson for the Finetco Family of Lumberyards working primarily out of the Coventry location. Ryan graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2016 with a degree in Business Administration.
"This is an amazing opportunity to have the Finnegan family involved at multiple levels. Sean, Evan and Ryan will all be assigned to Board Committees and we look forward to their perspective and guidance in engaging the younger generation."~ Colleen Duffy, Board Chair
New Board of Directors Member
Welcome John Carvalho
December 3, 2020
Our next Board Member elected to the Board is John Carvalho. He is the President and CEO of Apollo Safety.
John is an accomplished leader in the field of gas detection, with over 25 years successfully managing his own business. As a 50-year resident of Fall River, John is actively involved in a number of philanthropic efforts in the city, including serving as a member of the Bank Street Neighborhood Association and also as a volunteer trainer for the Junior Achievement program in the Fall River school system. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for The Deaconess Home and a Woman’s Concern – A Pregnancy Resource Center in Fall River.
"We are thrilled to have John join us representing Southeastern Mass. We look forward to utilizing his successful experiences in growing investment accounts so A Wish Come True continues to help our mission long term," stated Colleen Duffy Board Chair.
Polar Plunge 2021
November 20th, 2020
NEWPORT — People who like to begin the year with the annual Polar Plunge at Easton’s Beach on New Year’s Day with thousands of other people won’t be able to do so in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fundraiser has benefited different organizations over the decades, but for the past 16 years, it has assisted A Wish Come True, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Instead of asking people to hop into Easton’s Bay, A Wish Come True will be asking would-be plungers to instead dump a bucket of ice water on themselves in January and share a video of it on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #AWCTPolarPlunge.
The event was inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge made popular by former Boston College baseball player Peter Frates, who lost his battle with ALS in 2019.
November 17th, 2020
Relationships are difficult when raising a child with special needs. Take a moment to listen to John Gray (Men are from Mars, Women are Venus author). Be thankful for each other and don't forget to take time together, especially now during these difficult and stressful times.
BeWell Parents Program
November 17th, 2020
We are very excited to start our 2nd Parents BeWell program this time for our amazing Wish Dads! Together our Wish Parents are under incredible stress. This program is designed to help parents learn to focus on their own health, de-stress and find a strong support system to lean on as they have experienced familiar situations. We were so impressed by their openness to this new program. It is our “Wish for Wellness” for our parents!! If you are a Wish Dad and you are interested in learning how to relax and BeWell contact Nicole@awishcometrue.org.
Only A Wish A Way
October 14th, 2020
A small and unassuming gray house on Warwick Avenue is where magic is made and wishes are granted. Missy, the 9-year-old wish dog, makes frequent appearances here with Mary-Kate O’Leary, the executive director of A Wish Come True.
Halloween decorations, still in their packages, will soon transform the fenced-in yard. On Oct. 25 from 4-7 p.m., the War-Witches of Warwick (Mary-Kate and her Girl Friday, Nicole White) will welcome wish kids to the Wicked Wishes haunted house. Costumes are a must, and a professional photographer will be on hand as each family has a turn exploring the yard while the witches control the flow of traffic.
On Oct. 8, A Wish Come True celebrated its 38th year of granting wishes to children in Rhode Island facing life-threatening illnesses. Since 1982, over 1,600 children with once-hoped-for wishes have become the recipients of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Healthy Hands, Helping Heart Campaign
September 19th, 2020
A Wish Come True, the oldest wish-granting organization in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, announced that its custom hand sanitizer is now available for purchase. With 100% of the proceeds going directly to the wish program, the “Healthy Hands, Helping Heart” campaign was initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a much-needed product to the community and help the organization continue its mission of supporting wish kids and their families in their time of need.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced A Wish Come True to postpone some of their annual fundraising events, and the organization has turned to new ways to raise funds to support wish kids. In addition, social distancing protocols mean that for the time being, many kids cannot experience their wish activities. In order to continue their mission, the organization is helping families with basic needs instead, such as providing groceries, paying bills and covering the cost of emergencies through their community-supported Meghan Duffy Memorial Hardship Fund.
In addition, the organization recently launched a “Parents Be Well” program, which helps Wish Parents heal through activities like Yoga with Raffa Yoga and classes on how to relieve stress and other self-care topics.