April 29 marked the 40th anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish Foundation, the organization that grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses worldwide.

After 40 years of wish granting, Make-A-Wish has proven time and time again that light can shine in even the darkest and most uncertain times. Make-A-Wish remains committed to delivering hope to wish kids and their families despite facing an unprecedented number of wishes waiting to be granted. As a result, Make-A-Wish is used April 29, recognized annually as World Wish Day, to launch Wishes Need Stars Like You – a new campaign that rallies the collective star power of everyday people and corporate sponsors who help wish kids and their families when they need it most. The campaign serves as the first effort under the multi-year When Stars Align strategy, intended to highlight the past, present and future stars who align their time, talents and resources to fuel the Make-A-Wish mission.

Both the new campaign and the overarching When Stars Align strategy were developed in partnership with Team One, the organization’s pro bono brand agency of record. Make-A-Wish kicks off Wishes Need Stars Like You with the release of Lasso, a brand-new PSA. The PSA features a voiceover from actor and WWE Superstar John Cena, who has granted more wishes than any other celebrity wish granter, in addition to a special re-recording of “A Sky Full of Stars” from award-winning musicians Coldplay. The cast of the PSA includes current wish kids, wish alumni, volunteers and community supporters like Tony Adkins, a physician assistant at Children’s Hospital of Orange County famously known as “the dancing doctor.” There’s even a cameo from Make-A-Wish co-founder Linda Pauling, whose son, Chris Greicius, inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish when his wish to be a police officer was granted on April 29, 1980.

“While on set for the new PSA, I had a chance to reflect on the growth that has taken place at Make-A-Wish since the founding in 1980,” said Pauling. “All of us co-founders knew that we had tapped into something truly special when we granted Chris’ wish, but back then, we would have never anticipated the wish would lead to an organization that would bring hope and healing to more than half a million children with critical illnesses worldwide.”

A production team of more than 200 people supported the PSA in order to tell a compelling story that clearly and effectively conveys the essence of Wishes Need Stars Like You. Thanks to the generosity of Disney, the PSA was able to be filmed on the life-like neighborhood set of Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall, Calif.

The PSA and the overarching Wishes Need Stars Like You campaign center around the Make-A-Wish star that the public already associates with wish granting. Inspired by its logo, Make-A-Wish has created a glowing, blue version of the iconic star in the form of a glow-in-the-dark pin. The star pin is intended to be worn as a signal that everyone can be a star in the lives of wish kids and their families. Celebrities, influencers and supporters alike have already started to wear and share the star pin on social media with the hashtags, #WorldWishDay and #WishesAreWaiting. There will be other chances to display the star pin throughout the next year and the years to come, so people are encouraged to buy their own online. In addition, there is a digital version of the star pin available as a sticker to be incorporated into Facebook Stories or Instagram Stories.

“Wishes Need Stars Like You is a call-to-action to the shining stars all around us – the people and organizations who have the power to bring hope to children, families and communities who need it most. Together, they’ve helped Make-A-Wish transform countless lives over the past 40 years, but there’s still lots more work to be done before every eligible child can experience the power of a wish,” said Richard K. Davis, Make-A-Wish America president and CEO. Luciano Manzo, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish International, added, “Make-A-Wish is facing a situation unlike any other in our 40-year history. To ensure the next 40 years are even more impactful than the first, we are launching Wishes Need Stars Like You to help people recognize the power they have to be a shining star for wish kids because every child deserves a childhood.”

Make-A-Wish will continue to recognize the 40th anniversary for the next 12 months. Between now and World Wish Day 2021, Make-A-Wish will shine a light on 40 years of wishes across the national and chapter social media platforms. In addition, many Make-A-Wish national sponsors will take part in the 40th anniversary alongside Make-A-Wish, including The Walt Disney Company, Macy’s, GameStop, WWE, ABC Supply, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, American Freight, Avis, Brooks Brothers, Fairmont Hotels, Frigo Cheese Heads, Keebler, Lokai, Marquis Spas, NowMobile, Party City, Petland, Southwest Airlines, Subaru of America, Topgolf, Torchy’s Tacos, Trusted Choice, and United Airlines.

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