Meet our 2023 Make-A-Wish® Wish Kids in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne

Meet our 2023 Make-A-Wish® Wish Kids in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne

Discover your part in these stories of joy and laughter through challenging times.

Hospital hallways and medical procedures, treatment schedules and side effects: children with critical illnesses face a reality that most of us have a hard time comprehending – unlike the family members who face the child’s illness with them. Through the worry and care, the scheduling of appointments, and “Did you remember to pick up the medication from the pharmacy?” In between scans and blood draws, and “I know you don’t want to, kiddo, but the doctors say we need to do this …” 

The Make-A-Wish® experience creates the ability for wish kids and their families to change the conversations about doctor appointments and treatment schedules, and instead discuss the good times they will have, the fun they’re looking forward to, and the memories they’ll never forget.

For 7-year-old Kadence from Fort Wayne, a child facing cancer who was recently selected as a Wish Kid with Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana, those fun memories now include a trip to Walt Disney World®! Kadence had never traveled before and he looked forward to meeting Mickey Mouse and the other Disney characters. As Kadence’s mom, Jonnae, shares, “We had a wonderful time! Thank you all so much for everything! It was literally a dream come true! Kadence loved everything, but his favorite was the Transformer Ride at Universal Studios!" 

To know that a smile on Kadence’s face will return time and again, and that he and his family now share stories of joy and laughter through their challenging times – and to know that you have a part in making these smiles and stories possible – that is the work of Make-A-Wish® together with Millcraft’s Buy & Give program.

Together With Make-A-Wish®

Established in 2014, Millcraft’s Buy & Give paper program grew out of Millcraft’s mission to create meaningful impact within its communities, and to give back to those in need. The initiative provides businesses the opportunity to support local charities through routine purchases of Millcraft’s Buy & Give brand office paper. For every carton of paper purchased, Millcraft donates $1 to the program.

Millcraft partners with Domtar – the leading producer of uncoated papers in North America – to produce and market Buy & Give multi-purpose paper throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Since its inception through the first three quarters of Millcraft’s 2023 fiscal year, Buy & Give has generated more than $725,000 within Midwest communities served by select non-profit organizations in each of Millcraft’s geographic service areas.

Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana was chosen as a designated Buy & Give Paper program beneficiary by Millcraft Indianapolis in 2015, and Millcraft Fort Wayne also developed a partnership with Make-A-Wish® OKI in 2020. All total, Buy & Give has generated more than $90,000 in donations to Make-A-Wish since 2015. 

“It’s amazing to see how Millcraft brings people and communities together through their Buy & Give paper,” says Dominique Stallings, Advancement Officer Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana. “It’s something people need and use everyday, and Millcraft makes the purchase meaningful. We feel so honored that we’ve been chosen as a Buy & Give recipient. There are thousands and thousands of nonprofit organizations, and out of every one, Millcraft chose us and continues to choose us.”

The Makings of a Wish

With an average wish costing $10,000, including the special wish reveal event, Make-A-Wish® Senior Advancement Officer of Northeast Indiana Jenny Boyd says every wish granted and each wish reveal event is a little different, depending on the child’s dream. 

Boyd says some wishes include family vacations and celebrity meetings, others she describes as unique and highly customized. She says every wish reveal event includes personalized details to make the child feel supported and special, and to give the child and their family a sense of hope during hard times. 

For example, Millcraft Indianapolis and Make-A-Wish OKI recently granted wish kid Ben, age 3, a break from the hard work of fighting a heart condition with the fun of an adaptive playset that he wished for. Ben, who loves being outside and playing with his siblings, had just moved with his family to a house with a good-sized side yard area. As all of the kids in the family are special needs, they would all benefit from the new playset, too.


Surrounded by family, friends, and volunteers, Ben’s wish reveal took place in his family’s backyard – that now includes a customized playset that is accessible for all! Ben’s mom says the adaptable swing is Ben’s favorite thing, and that he loves laying in the sunshine, swinging with his siblings.


Together With Millcraft 

As a chosen beneficiary of Millcraft’s Buy & Give paper program, Make-A-Wish® OKI presents Millcraft Fort Wayne and Millcraft Indianapolis with a wish child, like Kadence and Ben, toward the beginning of each year. Through monthly meetings with division managers, Millcraft’s employees and customers become well versed in each child’s story and wish, as well as details of what’s needed for the wish reveal event.

“While we’ve granted more wishes this year than we ever have before – 322 wishes in the state of Indiana with 55 of those here in Northeast Indiana – we currently have 76 wish kids who are waiting on wishes,” Boyd says. “The referrals are coming in at about the same rate we are granting wishes, so the number of children waiting is still pretty high. We’re focused on continuing to make these life-changing wishes come true for local children, and we recognize that the support of companies like Millcraft is crucial in helping make these wishes happen," says Boyd.

To know that a smile on Kadence’s face will return time and again, and that Ben and his siblings will giggle together on their adaptive playset and experience joy through their challenging times – and to know that you have a part in making these smiles and stories possible – that is what’s possible with Make-A-Wish® together with Millcraft’s Buy & Give program and you. 

By: Jen W. O’Deay

To learn more about the Buy & Give program in your area, Just ask.

Buy Give Carton and Ream


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