Make a Wish Foundation grants girl’s wish to visit Santorini (VIDEOS)

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Maureen Marsh’s wish to visit Santorini with her family. The 16 year-old, who was diagnosed with bone cancer and has had her knee operated, is a high level volleyball player, and as of last Friday is in Greece with her whole family. She chose the island of Santorini because of her favorite movie “Mamma Mia”. She often watches the film to make her smile and boost her morale as she endures treatment for bone cancer.
Before travelling to Greece, she was invited at the Greek Embassy in Washington for a special send-off by Ambassador of Greece Mr. Vassilis Kaskarelis. On her arrival at the Embassy, Maureen was greeted by Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Ioannis Vrailas, and with flowers by local Greek school children, and members of the Parathosi Dance Group.
At the reception the Greek ambassador said that she could not have chosen a better place to make her dream a reality, since Greece is a land of history and myths filled with stories of people that challenge themselves while trying to surpass their potential, overcoming all sorts of difficulties.  “Greek people are known for their “filoxenia”, their generous hospitality and for their desire to share with their guests all that they have, no matter how much or how little. Following your experience in Greece, I hope that you will yourself become one of our youngest Ambassadors, reaching out to all those who have not yet had the opportunity to visit my beautiful country.  So, ‘καλό ταξίδι στην Ελλάδα’ (Kalo Taxidi stin Elllada), which means ‘have a good trip to Greece’ and may this become the experience of a lifetime for you and your family”.
He then gave Maureen a book about the beautiful Aegean Sea to keep her company in her trip to Santorini, while Maureen and her family joined the Greek Dance Group performing traditional Greek island dances with live music.

After her arrival last Friday the mayor of Thira welcomed the 16-year-old, at a special reception where she was nominated as an Honorary Citizen of Thera.
Maureen Marsh ‘ visit is a further opportunity to promote the island and Greek hospitality, as the footage of the visit will broadcast by US (Fox, CNN), and Greek television networks.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation was celebrating  its unifying message of hope, strength and joy by honoring wishes, including Marsh’s, in 41 countries around the globe on World Wish Day. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
  • The Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the world’s leading children’s charities. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted the wishes of more than 200,000 children with life threatening medical conditions in the United States.
  • The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes.
  • In fiscal year 2010, the Foundation granted 13,580 wishes, the most ever in its 30-year history. The most popular wish is to visit a theme park, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the requests from our wish kids.
  • Typically, children’s wishes fall into four categories: To Be (e.g., a zookeeper, a fire fighter, a baker), To Meet (e.g., a favorite celebrity or athlete), To Have (e.g., a computer, a playhouse, a puppy), or To Go (e.g., to a theme park, Hawaii, a major sporting event).
  • To qualify for a wish, the child must be older than 2½ years old and younger than 18 (at the time of referral) and must not have received a wish from another wish-granting organization. A child can be referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation by a parent or guardian, a medical professional, or by the child.
  • Following referral, a certified medical professional must verify that the child has a life threatening medical condition. There are no other qualifications based on sex, race, religion, socioeconomic status or any other demographic category.
  • The average cost of a wish is $7,205 (as of March 2010). For every dollar donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, 75 percent goes towards wish granting, which exceeds program service allocation standards set forth by leading charity watchdog groups, including the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The Make-A-Wish Foundation was one of the first charities to earn the Better Business Bureaus Wise Giving Alliance Seal and has earned the highest rating, four stars, from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent charity evaluator.
  • The 2010 EquiTrend study from global market research firm Harris Interactive ranks the Make-A-Wish Foundation as one of the top 10 charities in trust (No. 7), nonprofits people are most like to donate to in the future (No. 8), and brand equity (No. 9).
  • The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America’s national office is located in Phoenix. The 64 Make- A-Wish® chapters in the United States and the US territories of Guam and Puerto Rico enable the Foundation to serve children in every U.S. community.
  • Nearly 25,000 volunteers help the Make-A-Wish Foundation maintain its grassroots support by delivering the organization’s mission to seriously ill children across the country. Volunteers serve Make-A-Wish chapters in a variety of capacities, including wish granting, office administrative support, special events, fundraising, language translation and much more
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