A non-profit organization grants “magic moments” for Alabama children with serious medical conditions. For children with serious illnesses, sometimes life seems more about endless doctor visits and medical treatments than it does about typical childhood fun.
That’s where Magic Moments comes in. The non-profit organization—the only one dedicated exclusively to Alabama children—grants wishes for Alabama kids diagnosed with serious illnesses.
How It Started
Magic Moments was founded in October 1984 by Alabama moms Shelley Clark and Buffie Marks. “Shelley knew all too well the fear and anxieties that accompany the diagnosis of a critical illness as her own daughter had been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition as a child,” says Pam Jones, Executive Director of Magic Moments. “She saw how important it was for a child to have a boost-something to hope and dream about during those very difficult times.”
In the past 26 years, more than 3,900 magic moments have been fulfilled. The organization serves Alabama children ages 4 to 18, in all 67 counties.
The Magic Moments
Not surprisingly, the children’s wishes vary greatly. Some wish for an item such as a laptop computer. Some want to meet a certain celebrity. Others choose a shopping spree or a trip to a special place.
“Although the wish requests may vary, the end result is always the same: lots of smiles and laughter, and sometimes tears of joy,” Jones says. “One of the worst things a parent must go through is watching your child suffer. When they get to see their son or daughter enjoying life again-even if it’s only for a moment-it can be pretty overwhelming.”
Seventeen-year-old Sydney Criswell, daughter of Tommy and Melondie Harper, was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2007. “She’s been through so much,” says Melondie. Sydney’s wish? A trip to Disney World in August. “We all had a marvelous time,” Melondie reports. “Sydney said she couldn’t imagine anything she’d enjoy more. We stayed out until midnight watching the fireworks one night. It was
Jessica Lopez, 12, daughter of Maria and Byron Gilbert, was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2007. She too opted for a trip to Disney World. “There were no lines to wait in,” Maria says. “It was just awesome.” Adds Jessica: “I loved it all.” The 12-year-old reports she enjoyed the family’s stay at the Disney Village as much as Disney World itself. “I learned how to swim there!” she says.
How You Can Help!
Magic Moments is not affiliated with any other wish-granting organizations or charities. That’s why they rely on generosity of people, corporations, foundations, civic groups, and fundraising efforts. “Without the generosity of others, we simply would not be able to do what we do,” Jones says. “Each week, we receive new applications for that one special wish. When it’s the least they want, it’s the most we can do.”
Visit magicmoments.org to find out how to…
• Participate in Magic Moments events. By attending everything from a outdoor tailgate part to a designated night at the circus, you can give back while having fun.
• Donate. You can donate online, via telephone, or through the mail. Consider making a donation in memory of a loved one or to commemorate a special occasion such as a birthday. Along with monetary gifts, Magic Moments appreciates donations of frequent flyer miles and gifts of stock and other investment securities.
• Purchase holiday cards. These unique designs are created by Magic Moments recipients.
• Volunteer. Become a “Magic Maker” to participate in granting wishes, assist at special events, or provide administrative support.
The reward? Knowing you’re making life brighter for children like Jessica Lopez and Sydney Criswell, who deserve to reclaim a bit of childhood happiness after undergoing such challenges. “Our trip was a dream come true for my little girl,” says Jessica’s mom, Maria Gilbert. “We are so very grateful to Magic Moments.”
*From a previous print issue of Alabama Baby & Child magazine (c) All Rights Reserved.