Friends and Family Celebrate 10-Year-Old Kalaila’s biggest wish being granted

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- It’s not every day that you get to see dreams come true. Today is one of those days.

10-year-old Kalaila Martin has been battling leukemia for several years. She’s courageous, sweet-as-can-be, and really loves mac n’ cheese.

After two years of waiting, her biggest wish to go to Hawaii is coming true in just a few days. She and her family leave Monday for the trip of a lifetime.

Today, Panera Bread and Make-A-Wish® South Carolina gave her the cutest send-off luau with Hawaiian-themed decorations, a beach bag with goodies and of course Panera Mac n’ Cheese.

“I picked Hawaii because I think it’s really cool and the colors are very bright. Everything is so tropical and beautiful.”

Kalaila Martin, 10
Make-A-Wish Recipient

The Make-A-Wish® Foundation strongly believes granting wishes not only to the child, but to their family as well. Karen Lucht, the Regional Development Officer for Make-A-Wish® South Carolina , explained how much a ‘wish’ can positively impact a sick child during their treatment.

“I get emotional just thinking about it. It really does change their lives and you’ll see that tonight,” said Lucht. “In what would be their darkest times, it gives them excitement and anticipation.”

Karen Lucht
Make-A-Wish® South Carolina Regional Development Officer

Make-A-Wish® South Carolina granted a record total of 207 wishes last year. That being said, Lucht mentioned that over 400 children are still on the wait list so there is still more to be done.

Granting a wish typically costs around $7,500 for the child and their family. While funding is the main proponent that helps grant wishes, many factors go into the process.

Typically it takes around 12-18 months to work around the child’s medical treatments and current condition. Make-A-Wish® South Carolina works hand-in-hand with the child’s doctors so they time the wish-granting perfectly.

After it’s success last year, Panera is hosting a second fundraiser for Make-A-Wish® South Carolina from July-August. It’s an easy way for people in the community to directly impact children in need that are in our state.

You can go to any Panera in the Charleston area to participate in their “Summer of Wishes” campaign by rounding up your purchase total to the nearest dollar. Melissa Lemieux, Marketing Director for Panera Bread SC/GA, says that even that little bit of change will add up.

“Last year with our donations and cookie sales we raised over $18,000. That money stayed right here in South Carolina and we were able to grant a little over 2 wishes,” said Lemieux.

Melissa Lemieux
Marketing Director for Panera Bread S.C. & G.A.

This year they already have gotten off to a great start with Kalaila’s send-off party and the launch of “Summer of Wishes.” However, 400 children are still on the wait-list.

If you want to help more kids like her have their wishes granted, check out Make-A-Wish® South Carolina’s website or stop into a Panera for Kalaila’s favorite mac n’ cheese. Be sure to round up your change when you do!

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