RealtorMag.REALTOR.org NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 REALTOR® 39
cided to jump in and expand the organization’s local
presence. But she did much more than raise awareness; Rhodes grew her southern Indiana Make-A-Wish outpost from two volunteers to more than 300
supporters today. Rhodes has even assembled a regional council—the first such fundraising group of its
kind, which has become a model for other Make-A-Wish chapters. Rhodes has helped raise nearly half
a million dollars and has helped make more than 80
young dreams come true.
Rhodes helps make even the grandest dreams
a reality, including those of a 5-year-old boy who
wanted to meet President Obama and another boy
who wanted to meet the pope. A boy named Sam,
with a rare skin disease, got to play baseball with his
favorite Yankee players, while his sister Sophie, who
su;ers from the same ailment, went on an American
Girl doll shopping spree on Rodeo Drive.
Because young Emily Jones couldn’t take her
“It’s something for [ill children] to look forward to, and it’s a dis-
cruise, Rhodes wanted to do something more than
the pontoon-boat ride. So she worked through Make-
A-Wish to grant Emily another wish—her own dog, a
small Pomeranian mix that Emily chose from a local
shelter. When Emily went home from the hospital on
Aug. 8, Rhodes sprang into action, picking up the
dog—which Emily named Sally Cookie—and had it
waiting for her when she arrived home.
Having the dog by her side helped Emily relax and
take her mind o; her illness—which is what Make-
A-Wish is all about. “That was the happiest she had
been in a long time,” says her mom.
“Make-A-Wish is about joy,” explains Rhodes.
“When a child gets a wish, it’s something to look for-
ward to, and it’s a distraction from all that day-to-day
stu; they have to tolerate. They see there is some-
thing good in their future.”
Rhodes works hard to combat a common mis-
conception about Make-A-Wish: that it serves only
children who are terminally ill. The fact is that the
majority of sick children involved in the program do
recover. Sadly, Emily did not. She passed away on
Aug. 17, less than a year after her cancer diagnosis.
“This must have been Sally’s calling because she and
Emily bonded so well,” says Tracy Jones. “She’d go
lay with Emily, and all she wanted to do was cuddle
with her, and that’s what they did.” ;
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traction from all that day-to-day stu; they have to tolerate. They
see there’s something good in their future.” —Kristina Rhodes