March Giving Highlight: Magic Moments

Every year hundreds of children in Alabama are diagnosed with critical illnesses. Once the diagnosis is made, the child’s life, as well as that of the entire family, is completely changed. Nothing is ever the same as it was before as their life, and the family’s routine become consumed with the complexities and worries of dealing with their illness.

At Magic Moments they believe that these are the children who are so deservingly in need of a magic moment. They are the only wish-granting agency devoted exclusively to providing magic moments to Alabama children suffering from life threatening medical conditions. A magic moment allows children and their families to forget, even if just for a little while, the fear and pain of their illness. Many of the families Magic Moments serve have never had a vacation, or even a day off, from the exhausting and frightening reality of hospitals, doctors’ offices and on-going medical procedures.

Founded in 1984 by two Birmingham Moms, Magic Moments has grown from a small, volunteer-only project in Birmingham, to a federally-recognized 501(c) 3 state-wide organization that has provided almost 4,300 magic moments to children in all 67 counties of Alabama. They have a big mission and they complete it with a small staff of only four full-time employees plus a score of committed volunteers dedicated to the children.

Magic Moments’ recipients come from a wide range of socioeconomic, cultural and racial backgrounds and face such life threatening medical conditions as cancer, heart disease, sickle cell disease, brain and spinal cord injuries. Frequently they have a secondary medical condition, often caused by the harsh drugs used to treat their primary illness.  While Magic Moments does not require that the children we serve demonstrate financial need, the sad reality is that many live at or below poverty level. Because the parents of seriously-ill and chronically-ill children frequently struggle with large medical bills and missed work, they are often unable to provide the extras such as computers or family vacations.

A magic moment can provide a seriously ill child the opportunity to laugh and play like a “normal” kid – to experience the everyday joys of childhood that are so often lacking when a child has spent much of his or her life in a hospital bed.

Travel and family vacations are our most common requests.  A vacation allows families time to relax, reconnect, and focus on fun, often for the first time in years. Younger children most often choose to go to Disney World. Older children who may be grasping desperately at an uncertain future sometimes have a very specific dream destination.  Most recently Magic Moments sent a 12 year old girl battling cancer to Fashion Week in New York. Her dream for when she grows up? To be a fashion designer.

The physical toll that a severe illness takes on a child’s appearance can often be overwhelming, especially for teenagers. Frequently, children ask for new clothes and make-up, wigs, or even braces. While those things may seem small, they can make all the difference in the life of a child who desperately wants to be seen as “normal.”  For older children struggling for normalcy and looking desperately towards the future, we have provided tuition assistance for classes and even secured internships at a New York magazine.  Computer systems and shopping sprees for electronics are frequently requested by very ill children, many of whom spend extraordinary amounts of time in and out of hospitals and at doctors’ offices.  For these children, video games and portable electronics such as iPads and gaming devices provide distraction and enable them to keep up with friends and school work.  Other magic moments include gifts of customized playground equipment, adaptive bikes and medical gliders, even a custom fishing pond for a little boy who loves to fish.

Currently they have over 75 children awaiting their magic moment and unfortunately many don’t have the luxury of time to wait. They rely solely on the support of contributors and fundraising events to raise the funds needed to make each one happen.

Our dream, or our magic moment? To provide a magic moment to child in Alabama who is suffering from a life threatening illness – to give them hope and joy at a time when it is needed most.

For the month of March will be raising money via an e campaign and online auction to grant at least one wish to a child in need. We’ll be introducing you to our sponsored child, Jordan very soon!

One thought on “March Giving Highlight: Magic Moments

  1. A very special thank you to Angie, Trish, and all the incredible Birmingham Mommies who made the 3rd Annual Moms Rock event such fun! Thank you for allowing me to share what we do at Magic Moments. With support from great groups such as yours, we help dreams come true for critically ill children in Alabama. Birmingham Mommies – thank you for waving your wands!

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