Fall 2016 Newsletter

2016-image2016 Fall Newsletter

Trent and the Tigers

Trent & Fam

Drying AutographsTrent is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was just 2 years old. Although his diagnosis is a daily struggle Trent has managed to play baseball for as far back as he can remember.  He just loves the game and is a huge Detroit Tigers fan.  Trent’s dream was to go to a Tigers game and meet Miguel Cabrera!

On the big day the limo came to Trent’s house in Jackson and drove him, his Dad and his grandpa to Comerica Park.  Trent was so excited!

He watched the team practice and met many players and then Miguel Cabrera came out to Trent and gave Trent his batting gloves and shook Trent’s hand.  Trent was so moved he started to cry.  Miggy said “Hey, dry those tears.  We are hoping you will throw out the first pitch!”

Trent looked at Miggy and then to his Dad and said “This is the best day of my life.”



From Wish to Scholarship

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HarrisoHarry at Arlington (002)n was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma at age twelve. He was referred to The Rainbow Connection when he was thirteen and his dream came true when he traveled to Washington D.C. with his family. On his wish trip, Harrison toured The White House and the FBI Building and created memories with his family he still cherishes today.  Now at 19, he is attending Delta College to study Mechanical Engineering.

At his very first wish meeting, Harrison’s Wish Coordinator, Nancy Schick, spoke to him about The Rainbow Connection Scholarship Program. Five years later, while getting ready to begin his education at Delta College, Harrison recalled that conversation and applied for a scholarship through The Rainbow Connection website. The Rainbow Connection was proud to award Harrison with a scholarship towards his education at Delta College.

Harrison says “I had a goal in my mind that I would beat cancer and with the help of The Rainbow Connection I would help bring hope and restore normality to Michigan children who have cancer. I also knew that by being a part of this group that I was being welcomed into a loving and caring family.”

The Rainbow Connection Makes Dreams Come True for Davison Boy Suffering from Hemophilia

April 2016

Media Contact: Andrea Walker-Leidy


Six-year-old CConner with Disney Signonner 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’s Denmark Tour

Zachary and exchange student Chris from Denmark


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!

Zachary eating denmark chili dogs

Romeo High School Students Make Dreams Come True!

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March 2016

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.


Frozen Party for Aya

Ana talking with Aya

Aya and datePrincess 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!

Aya cutting the cake with parents and princesses

Thank You

Araguna TY Letter

Media Links

2016 Media 

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

2015 Media 

Walmart-Oakland Press

Charity Week-Oakland Press
TCF Bank

City of Taylor Wish

Walk/Run for Kids
Spinal Column
Oakland Press
Run Michigan
Metro Parent
Neighborhood Seen

Rochester Post


Free Press

The Voice-Macomb

Celebration of Dreams -Patch

Celebration of Dreams-Rochester Chamber

New Volunteer Coordinator-Patch

Christmas Parade Wish Child-Rochester Media

Toy Drive
-Rochester Post

-Oakland County Moms

-Daily Tribune

Text to Give



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4-Year-Old Abigail Is the 3000th “Wish Child” at The Rainbow Connection

WISH 3000 - ABIGAIL(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.