For 40 years, Disney and Make-A-Wish have worked together to make more than 140,000 wishes come true. Although in-person wish experiences are temporarily suspended, that didn’t stop Disney from helping Make-A-Wish celebrate their 40th anniversary by granting the 500,000th wish.
The 500,000th milestone wish belonged to 16-year-old Karina, who instead of wishing for something for herself, generously wished “to give kids a day to forget they’re sick.” With her own summer camp memories in mind, Karina wanted to recreate those carefree days where “problems and stresses took a backseat to fun and laughter.”
“It always made me uncomfortable to ask for anything or to receive anything, but then when I found out that there was an option to give, that is a wish come true,” Karina said, “It brings me a lot of joy, and it brings other people joy, which then just brings me more joy.”
To accomplish a virtual summer camp experience—called Kamp Karina, of “kourse”—Make-A-Wish and Karina worked together to create a variety of activities, all designed to put a smile on the faces of other wish kids from the comfort of their own homes. The virtual day-long “camp” on Sept. 23, 2020, was streamed on YouTube and included a magic show, a science class, storytime, and some very special Disney surprises.
“Granting wishes creates magical memories for children and their families,” said Disney Parks editorial content director, Thomas Smith. “Disney is working closely with Make-A-Wish to find innovative ways to stay engaged with children whose wishes have been deferred due to the pandemic.”
Every part of The Walt Disney Company helps Make-A-Wish grant life-changing wishes, so it’s no surprise that the whole company pitched in to grant Karina’s wish, including ESPN who worked with the NBA to put 32 wish kids (including Karina) in the virtual stands for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
But that’s not all. Walt Disney Animation Studios hosted a “Frozen”-inspired drawing class featuring Disney animator Hyun Min Lee and Josh Gad—the actor who provides the voice of the lovable snowman Olaf—and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products (DPEP) provided Disney-themed trivia as part of Disney Family Game Night. Last but certainly not least, DPEP lit up the virtual sky with a magical fireworks show to cap off the Kamp Karina program.
The Disney Parks Blog will share a sneak-peek of an exciting Make-A-Wish announcement happening on Oct. 20, 2020 to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.
Check out this video to see how Disney was able to play a part in Kamp Karina: