LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Even if you haven’t been impacted directly by Make-A-Wish, chances are you know someone who has in its 40-year history.

Later this summer, as the grassroots organization celebrates 40 years of giving critically ill children a wish that often gives them the strength needed to keep fighting, it will grant its 20,000th wish to a child in their largest U.S. chapter, which covers Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.

The goal has always been to give support to children and their families going through their darkest days.

80% of the children who receive a wish from Make-A-Wish go on to live rich, fulfilling lives according to the organization. This is partially attributed to the renewed strength that comes from having their wish granted.

Regardless of the end result, for Make-A-Wish, their mission remains what it was when it started, to give every child a moment they’ll never forget. One Lexington child recently went on their wish and his family said it meant the world.

“This is awesome that he got the opportunity to have a chance where the whole vacation was just about him,” said Scott Brimley.

When Brimley’s son Charlie was just eight weeks old, his legs stopped moving. Doctors not long after discovered he had a cancerous tumor on his spinal cord.

“He went through a year of cancer treatments,” said Charlie’s mom Shelby Brimley. “He did chemotherapy and proton radiation and a large surgery at the beginning to remove the mast.”

When going through chemo, Charlie sought comfort in a famous Disney character, known to make everything a little easier.

“MICKEY MOUSE!!!!” Charlie cheered.

“That’s what he wanted, to comfort him, to get him through everything,” Shelby explained. “You know, when he was sad, when he was going to get an I.V. or a shot or something, he was when he’s being held down and doing all these like really hard things for a kid to do. He wanted Mickey Mouse.”

So, when Make-A-Wish came calling to grant Charlie his wish.

“I felt very emotional letting Charlie meet Mickey because it was just a sign of, like, everything that he had gone through and just like something he’s been excited about for years. it was so magical for him,” Shelby described.

Both Shelby and Scott hope this experience is something Charlie will remember for a long time.

“We’re going to have all these pictures and videos and we have souvenirs, and we have all of these fun things that we’ll kind of talk about for the rest of his life,” Shelby said.


Both are greatly appreciative of the generosity of those who made their son’s wish possible, even though they may never meet him.

“He just, like, will know how much he’s been supported, even from a very young age, from Make-A-Wish and there were so many additional struggles that we went through,” Shelby explained. “We didn’t have any family near us during that time. And so many people we don’t know like came out and helped us.”

Make-A-Wish reps say in addition to giving renewed strength to a child, a wish can also unite neighbors, friends, and entire communities given how many people it takes to make a dream wish a reality.

Organization reps said the half-a-billion wishes granted worldwide could not have been possible without the support and generosity of the communities they serve.

Currently, there are more than 100 kids in the Lexington/eastern Kentucky area waiting for their wish to be granted.

To help, you can learn more here.