Wish Granters

Dena McLauchlin

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Since 2010, Wish Granters, a local nonprofit organization, has been helping to create a different narrative around terminal illnesses and what living with one looks like. It is the only nonprofit in Idaho that grants wishes to non-age-related terminally ill or potentially terminally ill adults 18 and older.

Wish Granters desires to provide happy memories with friends and family that will last a lifetime. While the organization’s roots are in Boise, it recently made its way to Gem County and is working out of the Heart n’ Home office in Emmett.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life of terminally ill adults and their primary caregivers by granting wishes and supporting projects in the local community, thereby providing opportunities for these adults and their loved ones to have positive life experiences,” said Dena McLauchlin, Director of Development & Programs.

Most of these wishes are heartwarmingly simple in nature that allow the recipients the comfort, independence and dignity that they deserve.

Wish Granter’s humble beginnings started with Doug Raper, an Emmett native. Raper started receiving several requests from terminally ill adults for wishes while working with an organization that granted wishes, but only for children. He decided to change that and start an organization that would provide wishes to those adults who did not qualify for a wish from any other organization.

Thus, Wish Granters was born in July 2010, and the very first wish occurred later that year on December 17. A gentleman diagnosed with ALS wished for a helicopter ride. They made that wish come true, and he was able to enjoy it with his wife and two sons.

“Our founder, Doug Raper has always dreamt of expanding Wish Granters to Gem County,” said McLauchlin. “Doug went to High School in Emmett. He is unfortunately dealing with his own health issues at the moment, so it is my goal to make his dream come true.” That dream is to ultimately grow, create awareness and expand their programs to other county’s, starting with Gem County.

Since Covid-19, Wish Granters has had to suspend travel wishes for the safety of their recipients and their loved ones traveling with them.

To compensate the organization has been granting “Wish Bags” and “Blessing Bags.” The Wish Bags are designed to help a wish recipient, family member and/or caregiver with the ability to choose how they will make their wish happen. One patient was recently granted a “Wish Bag” and because of that he was able to buy himself a plane ticket to visit his granddaughter in Alaska.

The Blessing Bags on the other hand were created from McLauchlin’s continued breast cancer advocacy.

“I have been involved with various organizations that support breast cancer research and commitment to make a difference in the lives of those living with breast cancer. With the permission of Komen Idaho Montana affiliate and the women we are working with we have created Blessing Bags filled with items that help and create comfort in the lives of women in the Treasure Valley living with metastatic breast cancer,” she said.

Each bag is personalized for the needs of the individual, family, loved ones and/or caregivers. The Wish Bags are similar to the Blessing Bags but are geared more to a wish recipient whose wish is to travel.

The lives impacted by Wishes, Wish Bags and Blessing Bags are not just the recipients but also their families, caregivers and/or loved ones.

“My favorite part of being involved with Wish Granters is seeing a wish come true, seeing the faces of the wish recipient, their family members, their caregivers and loved ones,” said McLauchlin. “A hard part of being involved with Wish Granters is when you lose a recipient who already had their Wish. It is heartbreaking but just knowing their Wish happened and knowing the family can cherish those memories forever.”

Wish Granters believes that everyone deserves a lifetime but not everyone gets that chance, “so we want to grant their wish, give them something to hold onto, something to look forward to, and their loved ones lasting memories to cherish forever.”

The organization does not receive any state or federal funding, so they rely exclusively on the generosity of community members and businesses, grants and fundraisers.

“More wishes are coming in all the time, and we need your continued help to make these happen please join our cause,” said McLauchlin.

To help, learn more about Wish Granters, volunteer or set up a fundraising event, contact Dana McLauchlin at 425-466-3705 or Denise Sworenson at 208-365-2099.

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