Every year, Give Kids The World is blessed to welcome wish families through mAAgic Flight, a program sponsored by the Something mAAgic Foundation. This nonprofit organization, comprised of volunteers who are current and former employees of American Airlines, supports the GKTW mission by providing wish families’ flights from their hometown to Orlando. Something mAAgic partners with wish-granting organizations around the world to identify families to take part in mAAgic Flight. This year, our treasured wish-granting partners picked 38 families for this incredible trip that is filled with celebration and fun! Of course before they can land in Orlando, they take off from the airport near their home and what a farewell party it is for each family!
On Friday, September 20, GKTW joined Make-A-Wish of Southern Florida to send two families off from Miami International Airport (MIA), and to visit with several families coming through for their connecting flight. The festivities started with a limousine ride and a motorcade to the curbside drop-off at MIA, followed by a golf cart parade from security to the gate. Finally, a welcome/send-off party in the American Airlines VIP lounge with a carnival type atmosphere at the gate that included a DJ, a visit from the Miami Heat mascot, several animal encounters from Miami Jungle Gardens and costumed AA employees galore!
As the families were officially introduced and boarded, the crowd followed the plane out onto the tarmac to wave goodbye to these special guests, heading off for an adventure of a lifetime. The crowd could just barely make out the little hands waving back through the windows of the airplane. Everyone knew those kids sat (or tried to sit) full of anticipation and excitement. At the moment the plane began to taxi to the runway, two blasts of water created an arch over the nose of the plane – a water salute!
A salute to the generous team of American Airlines employees who volunteered their time to create this annual event. A salute to the wish-granting organizations who work hard all year long to make wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. A salute to Give Kids The World for providing the ultimate wish destination for these children and families. A salute to the wish family for inspiring us all and allowing us to share in a small part of their courageous journey.
Without a doubt, there was not one dry eye as the plane left the airport. By the next week, American Airlines employees returned to their everyday roles and the wish-granting organizations met the next child who waved her magic wand. Give Kids The World continued to welcome families from all over the world, but we will all move forward a little more united and re-energized in this effort. Let’s fill every day with a little bit of mAAgic!
Thank you Something mAAgic Foundation and all our wish-granting organization partners. We are so grateful for your continued support so together we can continue to fulfill wishes for children all over the world.
Contributed by Caroline Schumacher, Director, Guest Relations at GKTW