Media Contact: Andrea Walker-Leidy
Six-year-old Conner from Davison is just like any other boy on the outside. But, diagnosed with Hemophilia as an infant, Conner has been through more in his six years than most of us will go through in a lifetime.
“It is a fear for every parent that their child might fall and hit their head but that fear is a lot more severe for a child who has hemophilia,” said Malysa, Conner’s mom. A fall is life threatening.
After hearing about The Rainbow Connection, an organization that makes dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses, Conner’s mom, Malysa, contacted them and learned Connor would indeed have a dream come true.
At his first meeting with The Rainbow Connection, Conner was already excited. Mom explained he was treated “like a little king”. “Our first meeting with Nancy, Wish Coordinator from Rainbow Connection, was beyond anything I could have imagined,” said Malysa, Conner’s mother. “She greeted Conner with a huge bag full of fun things from Legos to coloring books. Conner was so excited!”
Conner told Nancy he wanted to go on Mickey’s boat, something he’d been talking about with his parents. “We’d seen a special on television about Disney cruises and Conner was glued to it,” said Malysa. “He kept telling us for weeks that he wanted to go on ‘Mickey’s boat’.”
Conner’s dream came true in January of this year when the Rainbow Connection sent him and his family to the Western Caribbean on a very special Disney Cruise.
After a limo ride to the airport, Conner and his family were flown to Miami to the cruise trip departing to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. One night, after a special meet-and-greet with Captain Mickey, Conner came back to his room to find that Mickey had stopped by and left him a stuffed animal and a special framed photo from their visit. “We had experiences that no one else is able to have on the cruise,” said Malysa. “It was so memorable for Conner.”
Conner has had a rough couple of months since he’s been home from his Rainbow Connection wish trip. “Conner was hospitalized at U of M for two weeks with a severe infection,” Malysa explained. “He has had four surgeries since we have been back and Conner will finally get back to school in April.”
“Rainbow Connection is an amazing organization for children that endure life threatening illnesses. Even after the wish they offer opportunities throughout the year for special events that we can attend as a family as a getaway from the craziness that we call life,” said Malysa.
“They also host an annual picnic where the kids can play games and earn prizes which makes them feel normal even for the day which is huge in the eyes of these children. When a child is having a difficult time they will send packages to the kids full of activities and little things that help cheer them up during such difficult times. It is an amazing organization and I cannot thank them enough for everything that they have done for my family.”
Rainbow Connection goes above and beyond for children that go through so much already. And, even though hemophilia is treatable, it is not curable. Like many of The Rainbow Connection’s Wish Children, Conner will live with his condition forever.
Offering comfort, hope and joy, The Rainbow Connection of Michigan makes dreams come true for Wish Children like Conner every day. Nationally ranked 4-stars by Charity Navigator, the organization also provides emergency services, annual Wish Family events and college scholarships to its Wish children.
The Rainbow Connection is funding exclusively by individual and corporate donations. To find out more about The Rainbow Connection, including the very first dream come true in 1982 when 14-year-old John Bowden met his idol, Mohammad Ali visit www.rainbowconnection.org.
Photos attached courtesy of The Rainbow Connection.
Conner’s dream come true thanks to The Rainbow Connection. Conner and his mother enjoy the Disney Cruise with step-father Alex.
Zachary is 16 years old and lives in Royal Oak with his parents and younger brother. He was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in August 2015. He has been in treatment since. Zachary’s wish was to travel to Denmark to visit with the exchange student (Chris) who lived here in Michigan with Zachary and his family for a year. Zachary wanted to experience the culture he had heard so much about from Chris and enjoy this adventure with his whole family.
His wish came true on March 23rd, 2016 when he and his family were picked up in a limousine and swept away to the airport and flown to Denmark where the fun began! Chris was their personal tour guide, showing them all of the sights and sounds of the city. They also ventured over to Germany for a couple of days. Zachary had the time of his life!
Media Contact: Andrea Walker-Leidy
Romeo High School Students Raise Funds to
Make Dreams Come True for Three Michigan Children Suffering from Life Threatening Illnesses
Romeo High School students take their annual Charity Week very seriously, raising thousands of dollars every year for charity. This year The Rainbow Connection leaders and wish parents stood speechless as the entire student body entertained the two wish children attending their Charity Week Friday Assembly. Mary Grace McCarter, Executive Director was so moved as she accepted their check for more than $18,000, she tells us “there were really no words to say. These students really get it. They are all making it happen- the artists, the dancers, the musicians, the athletes-everyone is all in. The air is filled with this terrific energy and the community reaps the benefit of their accomplishments”.
“Rainbow Connection has a special place in the hearts of Romeo High School,” said Amber Fountain, Romeo High School Guidance Counselor. “Our kids love helping kids! We have loved every minute of getting to know the special people Rainbow Connection helps and we especially love helping wishes come true.”
This year, thanks to Romeo High School, 14 year old Sara from Fairhaven went on her dream come true shopping spree at Somerset Mall; Four- year-old Aiden and his family, from Commerce will be going to Disney World in March; and five-year-old Penelope from Northville and her family will go to Disney World later this spring when the doctor gives approval following her cancer
Offering comfort, hope and joy, The Rainbow Connection makes dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses. A nationally ranked 4-stars by Charity Navigator, the organization also provides emergency services, annual Wish Family events and college scholarships to its Wish children.
To find out more about The Rainbow Connection, including the very first dream come true in 1982 when 14-year-old John Bowden met his idol, Mohammad Ali visit www.rainbowconnection.org.
Princess Aya was just 11 months old when she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Months of treatment followed. After extensive chemotherapy Aya’s doctors performed a bone marrow transplant and now, after a long period of recovery, the leukemia is in remission! Aya was too sick to enjoy her birthdays so now, at 3 years old, Aya wanted a big “Frozen” party. Her parents came to call it Aya’s “Celebration of Life” party!
A local banquet hall was turned into a magical Disney Frozen paradise where family and friends enjoyed a great dinner, music and dancing and a special visit from Ana and Elsa of Frozen fame! They sang and danced with Aya and even helped her cut her very special Castle cake! Everyone was treated to pictures with the special guests and Aya had the time of her life!
Rainbow Connection’s Dream Makers’ Ball An Astounding Success Making Dreams Come True For Michigan Children with Life Threatening Illnesses
Farmington Hills Boy with Severe Heart Condition Treated to a Shopping Spree and Special Day Thanks to Rainbow Connection
The Rainbow Connection Makes Dreams Come True for Davison Boy Suffering from Hemophilia
Rainbow Connection: Romeo students help make wishes come true
The Rainbow Connection Annual Dream Makers Ball
Rainbow Connection Grants 3000th Wish
Rochester Rotary Donates Funds to Rainbow Connection
Charity Week-Oakland Press
City of Taylor Wish
Walk/Run for Kids
Celebration of Dreams -Patch
Celebration of Dreams-Rochester Chamber
New Volunteer Coordinator-Patch
Christmas Parade Wish Child-Rochester Media
-Oakland County Moms
Text to Give
(ROCHESTER, MI–) (February 15, 2016) Since its humble beginning in 1982, The Rainbow Connection has been making dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses. The Rainbow Connection, a 4-Star Charity Navigator organization, recently celebrated granting its 3000th wish.
Founded by Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, in honor of Ron Dobson and his two children who were killed tragically in a plane crash, The Rainbow Connection began raising funds to fulfill special wishes for Michigan children who were fighting for their lives.
From that very first wish when John Bowden shadowboxed with Muhammad Ali from his bed at Children’s Hospital, The Rainbow Connection has dedicated its efforts to putting smiles on the faces of these brave children and supporting their families.
Just as special as the first wish, and all of the thousand of wishes that have been granted over the past 36 years, 4-year-old Abigail became The Rainbow Connection’s 3000th wish in October of 2015.
Abigail has been battling cancer since 2012. She loves ballet dancing, playing with baby dolls and playing with her 18-month-old brother Joshua. Abigail’s wish is to meet all of the Disney princesses at Disney World, will come true when her doctor gives the approval for travel, hopefully later this year.
“The children we meet are enduring long and painful medical treatments. We bring hope, laughter and something to look forward to – right now, providing a different kind of medicine – the priceless gift of hope and joy” explains Executive Director Mary Grace McCarter.
Although there is no waiting list at The Rainbow Connection, children often have to wait until they have clearance from their physicians. The Rainbow Connection provides surprise packages in the mail, tickets to sporting and entertainment events and a listening ear while the wish child waits for medical treatments to end. From shopping sprees and home theatres to meeting celebrities or the president, The Rainbow Connection works with to ensure that each and every child has the dream of all dreams- a magical once in a lifetime dream that will create memories to last a lifetime.
In addition to making dreams come true the Special Response Program assists families with financial difficulties brought on by expenses of having a child with a catastrophic illness, such as rent, utilities, and even funeral expenses. The Wish Enhancement Program provides fun times for these children and their families through summer picnics, a Holiday Party, and tickets to attend area theatres, concerts and sporting events and The Rainbow Connection Scholarship Program offers $1,000 scholarships each year for wish children going on to college.
What began as a small organization to honor the memory of friends has become a state-wide, nationally recognized charity, bringing smiles to thousands. The Rainbow Connection is fully funded by the donations and support of individuals and corporations dedicated to helping make dreams come true Michigan children with life threatening illnesses.
The Rainbow Connection will host its Dream Makers’ Ball on April 30 at The Townsend Hotel. The gala is the perfect opportunity to enjoy dinner, entertainment and live auction while finding out more about The Rainbow Connection. For ticket information, visit www.rainbowconnection.org.
The Rainbow Connection is located at 621 West University Drive in Rochester, MI. For more information on The Rainbow Connection, including its annual Dream Makers Ball, Walk for Kids or Celebration of Dreams events, visit www.rainbowconnection.org or call 248-601-7494.
Jaydon is 5 years old and lives in Burton with his parents. He was diagnosed with a genetic disease at birth that has gotten progressively worse. After spending so much time in the hospital, he dreamed of one day going to Disney World!
The Rainbow Connection made that dream come true in January, 2016. As a bonus, Jaydon brought his cousin who is his very best friend, along to go on all of the “cool rides”. His favorite parts of his wish were meeting all of the characters and putting his feet in the sand and ocean. His favorite character is the Incredible Hulk.
Adam was diagnosed with a lifelong blood disorder when he was an infant. He was referred to The Rainbow Connection when he was nine years old and went on his magical trip to Disney World that same year. Now at 22, he is an intern at Controller Technologies Corporation and will graduate in April from Oakland University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering.
Adam is a recipient of The Rainbow Connection Scholarship and we are so proud of all he has overcome and accomplished!
Adam says “for the last 15 years Rainbow Connection has been teaching me how to be a great person. Their charity has demonstrated to me that helping others is the greatest feeling in the world. My trip to Florida showed me that there is so much more to life than my illness.”
Rochester Rotary Charities announces $5,000 donation to The Rainbow Connection
Continuing support of local charities will help make dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses
Rochester-Rochester Hills, MI
By SUSAN DAVIS (Open Post) – January 28, 2016 10:51 am ET
Rochester Rotary, a member club of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service and encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, is pleased to announce its continuing support of local charities through a $5,000 donation to Rochester-based The Rainbow Connection. The mission of The Rainbow Connection is to help make dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses.
Rochester Rotary Charities President Cary Riggs made the donation at the weekly Tuesday Rotary lunch meeting on Jan. 26. to Mary Grace McCarter, executive director at The Rainbow Connection and also a member of Rochester Rotary. McCarter accepted the check with Wish Child Jillian and Jillian’s mom Phyllis in attendance. Jillian is nine years old and lives in Rochester. Diagnosed with cancer in April of 2014, she bravely endured many months of painful medical treatments while battling her illness. Jillian “rang the bell” at Children’s Hospital in September 2015, signifying she is in remission.
“Now that Jillian’s doctor has given the thumbs up on her health, all of us at The Rainbow Connection are on high alert to make Jillian’s dream to meet her all-time favorite pop musical artist Katy Perry come true,” McCarter said. “The continuing support of Rochester Rotary Charities helps us to make wishes for children like Jillian and thousands of others throughout Michigan become reality and we are grateful for their generosity.”
Riggs added that The Rainbow Connection is highly deserving of Rotary support.
“Charity Navigator, the largest independent charity evaluator, has awarded The Rainbow Connection its highest four star rating award for four consecutive years,” Riggs said. “Rochester Rotary Charities is privileged to be able to support an organization that not only meets the needs of ill children and their families, but is also an excellent steward of the charitable monies they receive.”
About The Rainbow Connection
From a magical trip to Disney World to meeting the President of the United States at The White House, Rochester-based The Rainbow Connection has fulfilled the dreams of thousands of Michigan children diagnosed with life threatening illnesses. The Rainbow Connection has never turned a child away and depends on the generosity of the Michigan community to make dreams come true for these brave children. The Rainbow Connection also addresses the special needs of its wish families. The Special Response Program assists families with financial difficulties such as rent, utilities and even funeral expenses brought on by having a child with a catastrophic illness. The Wish Enhancement Program provides fun times for children and their families through summer picnics, a holiday party and tickets to attend area theater, concert and sporting events. The Rainbow Connection Scholarship Program offers $1,000 scholarships each year for Wish Children going on to college. Learn more here.
About Rochester Rotary
Celebrating 61 years as a club in 2015, Rochester Rotary is one of 34,000 member clubs of Rotary International, which has more than 1.2 million members and raises and disburses funds for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. Monies are raised through social events and service projects organized by the club, ‘fines’ collected at Rochester Rotary meetings and gifts offered to the club through members and supporters.
The club welcomes new members who live or work in Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township. For membership information, contact Jeff Whitbey atJeff@whitbey.net. Rochester Rotary meets each Tuesday at noon at the River Crest Banquet Hall on Avon Road and Livernois in Rochester Hills. Like us on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/RochesterRotaryMI and learn more at http://www.rochesterrotaryclub.org/.
About Rotary International
Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who hail from Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self. Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations. Learn more athttps://www.rotary.org/en.
Photo 1: Mary Grace McCarter with Rochester Rotary Charities President Cary Riggs and Rochester Rotary President Alan McLellan. Photo credit: Tom Neveau