Local Make-A-Wish children receive toy baskets on Giving Tuesday

By: Bria Brown, | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 6, 2016

ROSEVILLE — Make-A-Wish Michigan, in partnership with Meijer, surprised two Roseville kids with hand-delivered toy baskets to celebrate Giving Tuesday Nov. 29.

Known as “a global day of giving,” Giving Tuesday is fueled by the power of social media and celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the U.S., according to the www.givingtuesday.org website.

Meijer Public Relations Manager Christina Fecher explained Meijer’s part in Giving Tuesday.

 Michigan Wish Kid Aiden Chambers, 9, is surprised by Meijer Public Relations Manager Christina Fecher and Make-A-Wish Michigan with a Lego toy basket for Giving Tuesday Nov. 29. Chambers has a life-threatening muscular condition.

Michigan Wish Kid Aiden Chambers, 9, is surprised by Meijer Public Relations Manager Christina Fecher and Make-A-Wish Michigan with a Lego toy basket for Giving Tuesday Nov. 29. Chambers has a life-threatening muscular condition.

Photo by Bria Brown

“Meijer is really built on a fundamental philosophy of supporting the communities we serve, and we have been a longtime supporter of Make-A-Wish Michigan because of all the good that they do. When we had these baskets of toys, it was really a no-brainer to give them a call,” said Fecher.

Fecher’s first stop was meeting 9-year-old Aiden Chambers, who has a life-threatening muscular condition and who went to Legoland Florida Resort for his wish in October.

Chambers received a Lego toy basket and was excited about his surprise.

When asked what he thought of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Chambers responded, “I think it’s great. They give kids a bunch of cool stuff.”
Chambers’ mother, Julie Chambers, spoke on the impact that Make-A-Wish has made in her son’s life.

“Make-A-Wish has been amazing for him. Thinking about the struggles that we go through on a daily basis, it’s tough for him. Not a lot of people understand muscular dystrophy and the mitochondrion thing he has. It’s tough because it’s an invisible disease,” said Chambers. 

When asked what she would like to say to Make-A-Wish, Chambers said, “Thank you for everything.”

Talandus Vickers, 8, was next on Fecher’s list for a surprise: a Nerf toy basket. Vickers’ wish was to visit the Walt Disney World Resort. As a result, Make-A-Wish granted his wish by sending him and his family there in August.

Vickers’ mother, Denise Fleming, explained his condition.  

“Talandus has sickle cell (anemia) SS; it’s the worst kind of sickle cell you can have, but being that he’s 8, usually someone with the sickle cell disease would have had more transfusions. He’s only had four, which is great,” said Fleming. 

Fleming explained that in order to keep her son’s sickle cell from flaring up, she must maintain his body temperature. 

“When it gets hot, I have to make sure he’s in a place with air conditioning. If it’s really cold outside, I have to dress him warmer than others. I don’t want anything to irritate him so he’ll have to go through pain,” said Fleming.

After Vickers opened his gifts, he gave a performance in which he showcased his acting skills and sang “So You Wanted to See the Wizard” from the NBC television soundtrack “The Wiz Live!”

Once it was time to leave, Vickers gave Fecher a hug and said thank you, then began to open his new toys.

Along with the hand-delivered toy baskets, Fecher provided each parent with a Meijer $50 gift card. 

“It was so fun to see how excited the kids got,” said Christy Schulte, communications and public relations manager for Make-A-Wish Michigan. “Our whole mission is to bring hope, strength and joy to kids who are going through hard times, and we know what kind of difference getting a wish come true can make.”

Make-A-Wish Michigan grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Since 1984, Make-A-Wish Michigan has granted more than 8,500 wishes, according to a press release. This year, the organization expects to grant wishes to more than 450 Michigan children, the release states.

For more information on Make-A-Wish Michigan or to donate, visit www.michigan.wish.org/donate. To learn additional information on Meijer, visit www.meijer.com.

Staff Writer Brendan Losinski contributed to this story.