Wishes and Dreams
We have all seen the logo “Children’s Wishes and Dreams” and have heard them in the news…but what does this non-profit organization do? We talked to Founder, Heidi Anderson, to see what inspired her to create this non-profit organization that would grant children their “wishes and dreams.”
A long time dancer, Heidi ran her own dance studio in Yakima for many years. A very sweet four-year old dance student wanted nothing more than to dance forever. At this young age, she was diagnosed with leukemia and began the long road of treatments. Throughout her recovery from chemotherapy, she would wear her Mickey Mouse ears on her head and a mask if needed when counts were low. Heidi and the girl’s mom would arrange for private dance lessons if needed, so she could continue her dancing between treatments. She loved Mickey Mouse, and dreamt of going to Disneyland to see Mickey!
The leukemia was proving to be quite the defiant dance partner, so the next step was to receive a bone marrow transplant in Seattle. While the family was away, Heidi and the girl’s students and families wanted to do something to help this little girl get to Disneyland – to see HER dream come true. They planned and orchestrated an original ballet fundraiser called “Snow White and the Eight Dwarfs” – the girl would be represented by the part of the 8th dwarf. (I bet her name would have been Dancer.) The ballet was cast, music choreographed, costumes made, and the location was chosen, The Little Theatre at Eisenhower High School.
“Perhaps they are not stars,
but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones
pours through and shines down upon us
to let us know they’re happy.”
Opening night was beautiful! But there was a sad undertone. You see, the day of the performance, the girl gave her final performance and went on to dance in heaven. Her mom told Heidi that when they got the news that the transplant did not work the two of them were in her hospital room just talking. Since it was a cloudy day in Seattle, her mom began blowing bubbles out the window to help the girl take her mind off of everything. The little girl, who had such an incredibly positive outlook on life, her family, and dancing, would find something in each and every day that was special. On this day, she said, “See mom, bubbles look pretty on a cloudy day.”
To Remember the girl
To remember the girl, Heidi asked everyone to blow bubbles for the girl at the park the day after the performance. Sometime later, seeing a display for a wish organization, Heidi said, “That is what I want to do, I want to be able to ensure that no other child’s wish floats away like the bubbles on a cloudy day…” and that began her wish work.
Children’s Wishes & Dreams came 14 years later when she decided to leave another wish organization with the clear goal that the money raised here in Yakima, would stay here for our local children with life-threatening illnesses or severe life-altering conditions.