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5 Heartwarming Stories of Sick Kids and their Heroes

We all know the Make a Wish Foundation does incredible things for kids who are seriously ill. Volunteers spend countless hours on the phone, trying to secure a meet and greet with the Minnesota Vikings, or a playdate with a real live wolverine—or, yes, even turn San Francisco into Gotham City for Batman’s special day. All told, the Foundation grants a wish to a child with a life-threatening illness every 37 minutes, helping thousands of children keep smiling during some of the hardest times of their lives.

But while Make a Wish is an amazing organization, it’s not the only one out there working to support children who’ve been given a tough blow in life. Here’s a sampling of some other people and organizations that have made the effort to go the extra mile for kids with life-threatening illnesses.

Icing Smiles delivers custom cakes to kids who need a reason to celebrate
Remember the photo of an Elsa cake that looked a little… well, otherworldly? The cake went viral and was mocked relentlessly, until the backstory came out, and bloggers started feeling a little guilty about the whole thing.

As it turned out, the cake had been created by a volunteer for Icing Smiles, an organization that provides free custom-decorated cakes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Even though Elsa wasn’t perfect, and the baker fully admitted it wasn’t her best work, the recipient was thrilled. Every day, “Sugar Angels” around the country volunteer their time and ingredients to prepare cakes for kids with serious illnesses, and for their siblings (who too often miss out). Check out Icing Smiles’ collection of cakes, or sign up to volunteer your own talents.

Wigs ‘n Wishes gives boy a beach backyard
A 4-year-old boy named Chad Carr lives in Michigan, and is suffering from a rare and aggressive brain tumor. He wanted more than anything to go to the beach this summer, and a charity, Wigs ‘n Wishes, had planned to send his family to Florida—but he wasn’t well enough to make the trip. So instead, the charity opted to bring the beach to him. They set up sand, seashells, bubbles, and a hot tub in the family’s backyard, and surprised Chad with the scene. “I got to see Chad’s face and how excited he was when he saw everything,” said Chad’s mother, Tami Curtis Carr. “ He had the combination of all of his wishes.”

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