“Make-A-Wish’s mission is so powerful and so positive,” says Caroline Ciocca. “It really does change the way you think about life in general, when you experience so many children who are dealing with unimaginable circumstances.”
As President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Southern Nevada chapter, Ciocca knows how to lighten the weight of those circumstances. This year, Make-A-Wish has granted the requests of more than 130 critically ill children. It’s not as easy as booking trips to Walt Disney World (though many kids request just that); sometimes, solutions need to be created from whole cloth, like for the young girl who aspires to be an inventor. (She’ll be partnered with an instructor at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University.) Others want to meet celebrities, to see the lights of the Strip or simply to get an iPad, and Ciocca—along with her staff, some 300 volunteers and a raft of community partnerships—makes it happen.
“We never know what these kiddos are gonna wish for. We want their imaginations to just run wild,” Ciocca says. “When they get to hope and dream about something in the future, it helps them fight harder.”
In the future, Ciocca hopes Make-A-Wish will fulfill 200 wishes a year. But she’s going to come at each wish as if it were the first and see it through, no matter how challenging the request.
“I tend to put my all into something, and I don’t really think about the end while I’m in it,” Ciocca says. “We’re coming to kids with this amazing gift of a wish. So it’s not as challenging as one may see.”