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Make-A-Wish Foundation Founder speaks at luncheon honoring Richmond donors

RICHMOND, Va. -- Fifteen more critically ill children in Virginia will have a wish granted this year by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, thanks to generous donors who helped raise more than 150,000 for the Virginia chapter.

The W.I.S.H. Circle, women inspiring strength and hope, collectively raised a $154,000 through private and corporate donations.

The funds will grant life-changing wishes for children with critical or terminal illnesses.

Research shows children who have wishes granted build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight an illness, which in turn improves their quality of life.

97% of wish families observe increases in a wish child’s emotional health because of a granted wish. 89% of nurses, doctors and other health care professionals say they believe the wish experience can influence wish kids’ physical health.

An honorary luncheon for the foundation was held Thursday at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond.

This year’s guest speaker was Linda Pauling, one of three founders of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Her story began in 1980, when her 7-year-old son Chris, who was battling leukemia, wanted to become a police officer. Linda knew that Chris likely didn’t have much time left, so she reached out to a friend, a U.S. Customs Agent. With the help of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Chris’s wish was granted. He was flown in a helicopter and sworn in as an honorary police officer.

Make-A-Wish began in 1980, when Linda Pauling's  7-year-old son Chris, who was battling leukemia, wanted to become a police officer.

Chris returned to the hospital the following day carrying all the gifts from the DPS and the memories of his greatest wish being fulfilled.

After his death a few day later on May 3rd, Linda vowed to help grant wishes to other critically ill children. She says the foundation started with $34 dollars in the bank.

Since its founding, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 300,000 wishes to children worldwide.

The 2018 Richmond W.I.S.H. Circle honorees are Mary Butler, Julia Caperton, Currie Costen, Jenny Courain, Robin Foster, Michelle Logan, Shannon Milligan, Kathleen Mills, Katie Ukrop, Isabelle Warren, Catie Wilton, Stacy Struminger and Rachel Teyssier.

Our Tracy Sears served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.