‘They’ll always be a part of us’: Make-A-Wish Nebraska hosts family party after 2-year hiatus

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Make-A-Wish Nebraska hosted its annual Family Party on Saturday for the first time in two years after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the events in 2020 and 2021.

Despite a sweltering heat index of between 108 to 110 degrees, 150 family members came out to the zoo to see the animals, and reconnect with friends they made during treatment.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bring families and past wish families together.” said regional director Melissa Davis-Schmit. “So many of our families connect when they’re doing treatments, but they don’t always interact because it can be kind of scary for them.”

Make-A-Wish is dedicated to bringing wishes to life for children with chronic illnesses. The organization has been able to send Nebraska families all over the country and world to travel, but the most popular dream they make happen is a trip to Disney.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to raise concerns again, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo was the perfect space for families to have fun.

“Some of our families are still going through treatment, and being inside with COVID ticking up is not really the best choice,” Davis-Schmit said. “This way families can spread out as much as they like, but still get time to enjoy the zoo.”

Wish’s Family Party is also a way to remind families who lost their kids that they’ll always have a second family in others who were granted wishes as well.

“Once a family is part of Make-A-Wish, they’re always a part of Make-A-Wish. They’re still a part of us,” Davis-Schmit said. ”

We still feel very connected to their wish experience, and the hope it provided them at a time when they really needed it.”

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