Junior finds voice in Make-A-Wish Foundation

April 1, 2018 — by Muthu Palaniappan and Kevin Sze

When she was only 9, junior Simran Mallik was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. A year later, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her a wish and paid for her and her family to go to a resort in Maui. Her parents and sister enjoyed an in-resort petting zoo and parasailing on the warm Hawaiian waters. Mallik couldn’t have been happier.

Her cancer was successfully treated, but she will never forget the impact of the trip on her during one of the toughest parts of her life.

Mallik’s experience with the organization ties in with the results of recent studies. In 2011, researchers from San Francisco's Make-A-Wish foundation discovered that 89 percent of doctors and nurses believed that granting wishes can influence a patient’s physical health, encouraging them to get up and come out of whatever struggle they are in. Often parents claim that it is a turning point in their children’s lives, as granting a wish makes the impossible seem realistic and fills children with optimism.

The help and encouragement that these children receive are not only for the terminally ill. Anybody with any illness can request any wish, and Mallik points to herself as living proof.

“I never had a life-threatening illness, but I was still granted my wish to Hawaii and I had an amazing time,” Mallik said. “It meant a lot to me when I was granted my wish, and I realized that I should spread the same joy that I felt to other kids with illnesses.”

The program inspired her to give back to other children with illnesses and shed light on the importance of programs such as Make-A-Wish. She has become an active voice in the Bay Area Make-A-Wish region as a freshman, and in her sophomore year of high school, she became the secretary and head of events for the foundation’s local student-run board.

Mallik’s main mission is to fundraise and spread awareness through various events such as a 5k run in San Francisco, which costs $35 per person, and cable car pulling, which costs $200 per team of six, in addition to local boba fundraisers.

“Fundraising for Make-a-Wish made me step out of my comfort zone when I would talk to different people in the program and also the regular people by encouraging them to donate,” Mallik said. “It’s a really good experience for me because it makes me more outgoing.”

Mallik plans on continuing her work with the foundation, hoping to become a wish granter in her 20s and 30s. Wish granters help connect patients with opportunities to receive their wish.

“I hope to spread awareness and support Make-A-Wish” Mallik said. “People need to realize the importance and power of doing kind things to each other, and hopefully people are inspired to give back to people in need.”

 

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