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Volunteer Appreciation Week kicks off with treats and thanks

Make-A-Wish Mid-South Volunteer and Wish Council member Lorey Phillips has been giving her time and her heart to wish kids for more than nine years. Nearly a decade ago, Lorey went through a heartbreaking loss. But the tragedy bound her deeply to Make-A-Wish’s mission and to each and every child’s wish that she grants.
  • Lorey's son Lawson

  • Lorey volunteering as a wish granter

  • Lorey volunteering as a wish granter

  • Lorey joins wish kids at the Art of Wishing Party

  • Lorey with wish kid Carson at The Art of Wishing party

  • Lorey's son Lawson

My son Lawson was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was eight-years-old. It was November of 2007 and after the diagnosis, his doctor referred him to Make-A-Wish Mid-South. Make-A-Wish staff then sent the paperwork to us to start thinking about his wish but Lawson’s illness advanced so quickly he was to sick too even talk about it. Just one month later, he was gone and we never had the chance to move forward with his wish.
After we lost Lawson I always in the back of my mind wondered what he would have wished for. I just kept thinking about it. I finally decided to raise money to grant another child’s wish, knowing that was the closest I may get to learning what Lawson’s wish would have been. His death was still so recent, and I didn’t want to talk to anyone or see anyone. This was also before Facebook had become popular. So I sent letters and posted on his care page that I was selling green armbands with Lawson’s name and “Make-A-Wish” for $2 each to raise money for Make-A-Wish to grant a child’s wish in memory of Lawson.
The response was overwhelming! I had ordered 500 armbands to start with and had to order another 1,000. So many people sent money. Some wanted armbands and included an extra donation, some just sent money. Lawson’s school, his football team and the kids from church all helped with the fundraiser. We raised more than $11,000. It was so heartwarming to know how many people Lawson had touched. We granted a wish at his school for a child were able to grant one additional wish with the money.

Shortly after, Make-A-Wish decided to form a Wish Council in Arkansas and a friend came and asked me to join. I went through volunteer training and also started granting wishes. After nine years of involvement, I don’t know how many wishes I have granted I wish that I would have kept count.

The most rewarding part of being involved with Make-A-Wish Mid-South is seeing these children’s faces when they tell you about their wish. As a volunteer, when you first go on a wish visit, the child often is very sick and feels hopeless about their condition. Then you get to go through the process of granting their wish, and see how happy the whole family is about this experience, and their joy is making memories together! No one can take those memories away, no matter what the outcome of the child’s illness. Every time I hear a child’s wish, I wonder if that’s what Lawson would’ve wished for. I will never know for sure what his wish would’ve been, but do know that because of Lawson many children have had their wishes granted!!

It is such a joy to be around these children and their families. I love to be a facilitator in making memories…I love being such a small part of something so big.

Volunteer with us

Jenna Martin
Volunteer Coordinator, AR
(501) 492-7274

Ashleigh Rainer
Volunteer Coordinator, TN/MS
(901) 692-9511

Make-A-Wish® Mid-South
1780 Moriah Woods Blvd.
Suite 10
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 680-9474
Toll Free (800) 264-9474
Make-A-Wish® Mid-South, Arkansas Office
320 Executive Court
Suite 101
Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 376-9474
Toll Free (888) 376-9474
Make-A-Wish® Mid-South, Northwest Arkansas Office
One West Mountain
Suite 108
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 755-4524
Wish Referrals (501) 376-9474