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Former 'wish kid' is Paying It Forward to Make-A-Wish Arizona

Pay It Forward is sponsored by America First Credit Union, Ken Garff Kia and Super Star Car Wash
Melissa’s helped grant countless wishes over the years. She says the reason she keeps helping is simple.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 5:38 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Melissa Jones volunteers for Make-A-Wish Arizona; she creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

“It’s all about the kids and the families,” Melissa said. “To help them choose their wish and to have them live it out. I wanted to have a part in that.”

It’s something Melissa can relate to first-hand, and she’s a former wish-kid herself. She and her twin sister were born with cystic fibrosis, which damages their lungs and digestive system.

When they were 10, they wished to go on a family trip to Disney World. “It was just a moment to have fun,” Melissa said. “We still had to do our treatment to take care of ourselves, but just to have that time as a family and to have something given to us that we didn’t have to plan, we could just enjoy being together.”

Now, as a volunteer, she can see the impact a wish has on wish kids. One of the most memorable wishes was when a teenage girl wanted to meet Criminal Minds actor Matthew Gray Gubler at the start of the pandemic. “She got to meet him virtually,” she said. “But the wish fulfilled so much more that she didn’t expect. It built her confidence; it gave her motivation,” said Melissa.

Hollie Costello from Make-A-Wish Arizona says volunteers are an essential pillar of the organization. “They are the first person that our wish kids meet,” Hollie said.

“Volunteers are so important because they are the first person that our wish kids meet,” said Hollie. “They create interaction with the families and present what Make-A-Wish can be to that wish child.”

Melissa’s helped grant countless wishes over the years. She says the reason she keeps helping is simple. “For the kids and experience for what they get out of it, and that I can help to continue that and add a spark of it for them,” she says.

For more information or to donate to Make-A-Wish Arizona, click here or call (602) 395-WISH (9474).