I wish for Chachi

As you see in the post below this one, I visited the Make-A-Wish offices in the Gulf Tower for the falcon-banding, way up there on the 37th floor where the view will make your love of Pittsburgh sock you in the heart.

Also socking you in the heart would be the wall of engraved plaques on which every wish ever granted by our local chapter of Make-A-Wish is listed in chronological order. You’ll find the child’s name, age, town, and the wish that was granted.

The great thing about the wall is that it’s like looking into a time capsule to see what kinds of things the kids wished for in the early 80s:

In here I see a Stereo/TV/VCR as well as Atari Games and a waterbed:

A seven-year-old who wanted an Apple II:

Lots of celebrity wishes, too!

The Karate Kid Ralph Macchio right below an RCA Digital Stereo System:

Scott Baio of Happy Days and Charles in Charge fame! My sister Pens Fan used to have a HUGE crush on Chachi.

Arsenio Hall:

This one is particularly touching in light of recent events:

Phone calls from Rocky Bleier and Mean Joe Greene.

Guns n’ Roses!


A three-year-old who just wanted to spend Christmas at home.

I honestly could have spent the entire morning there just reading this wall of names, starting with the 80s and moving up to present day.

The office walls are filled with pictures of some of the wishes granted:

This little boy wanted a shopping spree:

Golf with Mario:

I almost can’t handle that picture.

Troysus and Sid being good humans:


And this one, their first wish back in 1983, 7-year-old cancer patient Bryan who wanted to travel to Texas to get a piggyback ride from his uncle.

Too much.

I met the staff of lovely girls* in charge of fulfilling wishes and told them they have the best jobs in Pittsburgh because they get to put smiles like these on sick kids’ faces:


Best job ever.

*I never know what to call women in their twenties and thirties. Ladies or women sounds too old. Girls sounds too young. Broads? Chicks? Dames? Anyway, the girls that fulfill the wishes are gorgeous and lovely and Awesome Burghers to boot.


  1. Cindy T.
    May 26, 2011 2:57 pm

    Dammit — made me cry

  2. TracyinSC
    May 26, 2011 2:57 pm

    About 10 or so years ago there was a story about a kid who wanted to be a Super Hero for the day and Make-A-Wish made that happen, including filling the Point fountain even though it had been drained for winter, sending him on rescue mission all over the city, and outfitting him in, if I remember correctly, a bright green Super Hero costume. I cried when I read that and to this day I still get teary-eyed thinking about it. I need to see if that story is archived… Make-A-Wish ROCKS.

  3. Kathy
    May 26, 2011 2:58 pm

    i like the simple requests the most. the idea that all a kid wants is a piggy back ride or christmas at home. i get all verklempt

  4. Wish Dames
    May 26, 2011 3:20 pm

    Ginny- Having you in the office and meeting you in person was great but this post made our day. You are the epitome of lovely, gorgeous and an Awesome Burgher. Please come to visit again!!

    The Wish Fulfilling Dames ; )

  5. The Make-A-Wish Girls
    May 26, 2011 3:23 pm

    Ginny, thanks for the shout out! We’re thrilled you came to visit and enjoyed our Wall of Wishes. And some of us are even more thrilled you think they’re in their twenties. Come back anytime.

    @ TracyinSC

    The Super Hero wish, a.k.a. Beetle Boy, a.k.a. Michael, who is now 18 years old, will soon be featured in a book about the Foundation. Stay tuned :)

  6. spoon
    May 26, 2011 3:46 pm

    Our Chachi is more kickass than that old Chachi.

  7. Becky--the good sister
    May 26, 2011 3:46 pm

    The Wish Girls are AWESOME…they do amazing things to fulfill wishes. Although I must admit I am biased as my sister is one!

  8. Gina
    May 26, 2011 4:22 pm

    Shaun Cassidy! Oh, how I would have wished for that. I still have (and still occasionally wear) my ring with his photo.

  9. Cassie
    May 26, 2011 4:43 pm

    To spend Christmas at home.

    Thanks for making my waterproof mascara run.

  10. Jasmine
    May 26, 2011 4:52 pm

    Add another tally to the “teary-eyed” column.

    And I call them “ladies” – then again, I am one.

  11. Butcher's Dog
    May 26, 2011 5:36 pm

    Men cry too. Like me. Just sayin’.

  12. Craig
    May 26, 2011 6:06 pm

    How about calling them ANGELS?

  13. Kristy
    May 26, 2011 6:19 pm

    Gah. I can normally hold it in. But for some reason the shopping spree and piggy back ride brought on the tears.

  14. Lee
    May 26, 2011 6:31 pm

    Couldn’t be prouder of a daughter who is one of the Wish Girls….she does an awesome job….

  15. Cindy T.
    May 26, 2011 6:52 pm

    I just remembered how Ina Garten was so unwilling to participate in this wonderful program. She was “too busy” to grant a little guy’s wish? All he wanted to do was cook with her. I’m sorry no one is that damn busy. What an hour out of her money making week? Cold hearted.

  16. LisaB
    May 26, 2011 7:39 pm

    Yup, waterproof mascara running here, too.

    I love the girl with Reese Witherspoon, dressed as her character from Legally Blonde. That so rocks.

  17. jdjules
    May 26, 2011 7:41 pm

    Damnit this post made me cry too! My cousin’s name is on that wall from back in 1996… it’s so wonderful that they memorialize all those wishes, but kind of heartwrenching thinking about it. Make-A-Wish is such a great organization.

  18. Stacie
    May 26, 2011 10:38 pm

    Texas, piggyback ride… tears…

  19. Brian
    May 26, 2011 11:03 pm

    This post put a smile on my face! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for being all awesome and stuff.

  20. PghChick26
    May 27, 2011 8:38 am

    I LOVE how all the “stars” involved look genuinely happy to be there.

  21. sheila
    May 27, 2011 8:54 am

    I cry whenever I read these stories. My daughter is one of those “wish girls” and I couldn’t be more proud of her career choice! It takes a very special person to do this job…all to give kids a reason to smile. Make a Wish is the best!

  22. Dave
    May 27, 2011 9:13 am

    My niece, Kayla, passed away with Ovarian cancer at the age of 16 five years ago. She was an energetic young woman who withered away in front of our eyes. Her last days were difficult. Four weeks before she passed we got to see her smile as she spent a week at Disney World with her sisters and family. Make a Wish provided the trip. She didn’t even really want to go to Disney but she knew her sisters would probably never get there. Her wish was to make them happy. And she did. Make a Wish made it all happen. The last happy picture we have of her is standing of front of Flamingos with her three sisters onher lap. She’s smiling.

  23. Robin
    May 27, 2011 9:32 am

    I’d like to report that the little guy with Syd is doing well; he’s a co-worker’s grandchild and I have that picture on my office wall! Make-a-Wish does a fantastic job!

  24. Amber
    May 27, 2011 9:47 am

    I am so glad I am the only one in my office today. Between the post and the comments, I am a crying mess at my desk. Make a Wish is a wonderful organization!

  25. Stacey
    May 27, 2011 10:15 am

    This inspired me to volunteer. Thank you for the wonderful blog entry.

  26. Julie
    May 27, 2011 10:35 am

    Okay, I made it through the post, but then Dave kinda capped it off……wiping my eyes now….

  27. Dan (Not Onorato)
    May 27, 2011 11:31 am

    Yup, the piggyback ride and the home for Christmas wishes were the ones that started the tears. Ill admit it.

    Those Wish chicas are amazing. Great job!

  28. Blubbering Idiot
    May 27, 2011 11:59 am

    More evidence that there IS good in the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  29. Mary
    May 27, 2011 12:29 pm

    Bryan, who wanted the piggyback ride from his Uncle is my nephew. We had a great visit when he, his mom, and sister visited us in Midland, Texas to be with his Uncle Tom. We still miss him and still love him with all our heart. God bless Make-A-Wish and everyone one involved.

  30. Jen
    May 27, 2011 2:42 pm

    My brother is somewhere on that list – he got to meet Jay Bell! It was something our family has never forgotten – I wonder if he knows about this wall?

    The 3-year-old that wanted to be home for Christmas had me bawling.

  31. Lauryn
    May 27, 2011 3:04 pm

    Thanks for making me cry at work. I’m glad there are still stories out there that can make us cry for good reasons. Make a Wish does great work.

  32. jess
    June 1, 2011 4:21 pm

    I know the one with Sid! All kids deserve it, but when you see a kid who does, it really hits home. We know life isn’t easy for him, but when you get to see him smile like that, it really brings tears to my eyes. What great work they do.