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Make-A-Wish delaying wishes due to COVID-19

Posted at 3:56 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 22:17:25-04

The global pandemic is having a big impact on a non-profit that helps families with children who have critical illnesses.

On their national website, officials with the Make-A-Wish organization state: "At this time, we have made the difficult decision to postpone all wish travel, as well as wish kid participation in all activities and events related to Make-A-Wish that involve large gatherings, until further notice. We estimate more than 30 wishes per day could be delayed by COVID-19 related postponements."

It is also having a big impact here in Arizona. Hollie Costello, a spokeswoman for Make A Wish Arizona said they have about 600 children waiting in what they called their "pipeline."

"Typically we grant anywhere from 40-50 wishes a month. This month we'll only be able to grant six to ten-- so it's a dramatic difference," said Costello.

One of those children is seven-year-old Clara Virden-Williams who was diagnosed with germ cell tumor cancer. Clara has been through several rounds of treatments and is now in remission.

Her parents Frank and Emily tell ABC15, "she's been a very brave girl through all of it."

Clara's wish grantor, Mary Sammons didn't want to sit back and wait. She put out the call for action, asking people in the community to deck out their cars, for a parade in front of Clara's home.

RELATED: Car parade for Make-A-Wish girl battling cancer in east Valley

The parade which was a surprise for Clara lasted well over thirty minutes. Those who took part included the Gilbert and Chandler police departments, and the Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler fire departments.

Emily described it as overwhelming for the whole family to see the outpouring of love and support for their daughter. "It didn't just cheer our family up, it cheered a neighborhood," said Emily.

Clara told ABC15 she was most excited to see her teachers and friends, and she loved all of the presents and cards friends and strangers gifted to her, especially her new stuffed dancing llama.

Costello said children’s safety was the number one priority for Make-A-Wish Arizona during this pandemic.

If you would like to get involved or help grant wishes you can reach out to the organization at or 602-395-WISH (9474). You can also visit their website.