Coronavirus: Make-A-Wish Foundation gets creative to help kids battling illnesses in LA amid COVID-19 crisis

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- One of the many local organizations taking a hit from the coronavirus emergency is the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The crisis has left a substantial impact on the organization and on the local kids battling life-threatening illnesses.

Since 1983, Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles has granted 10,000 life-changing wishes to children battling critical illnesses across the county.

But as the coronavirus crisis forces the closures of schools, companies and restaurants, Make-A-Wish is yet another organization battling through.

"The majority of our wishes are currently on hold, which is changing the dynamic of our workflow dramatically," said Make-A-Wish CEO and President Mike Kallhoff.

Kallhoff knows the importance of the work they do first hand and how beneficial it can be for the child and their family. His daughter, Kaitlin, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4.

"For her, it gave her something to look forward to, something to think about, happier thoughts as the days progressed and really help all of get through a very tough time," Kallhoff said.

Make-A-Wish says research shows children who have wishes granted can build physical and emotional strength to fight their illnesses.

The Los Angeles chapter grants 250 wishes every year, including trips to Disneyland and introducing children to their favorite celebrity.

More than half of the wishes involve air travel. Many require large gatherings.

At least 30 wishes a day are now being postponed.

But Make-A-Wish is getting creative to make miracles happen.

"For those where their health is so severe that we may not be able to wait this out, we're looking to do virtual wishes as much as we can," Kallhoff said. "If it's a physical item, we can still get it to their house. If it's an item of meeting someone, we're trying to do that over the phone via Skype interviews, things of that nature. If they wish to go somewhere, we;'e trying to make that happen as well."

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The biggest wish now is to get through the coronavirus pandemic. So children like Savannah and Talula can once again live out their dreams.

Donations can be made here: la.wish.org/donate
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