I wish he'd have come to my base when I was deployed!
"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.
On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.
Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's
Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.
"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."
This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.
It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.
"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.
Brantley playing with snowballs
Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.
That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.
There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.
Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer
Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.
This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.
By now most Americans have heard, or at least heard about, President Trump's hour-long phone call with Georgia's Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, in which the sitting president attempted to convince the official in charge of Georgia's election to "recalculate" and "find" him enough votes to overturn the state's results in his favor.
The criminal implications inherent in the asking aside, the phone call was filled with baseless allegations that the president has "heard" and that "Trump media" has been sharing. It's the constant drumbeat of the past two months—the counts are wrong, the machines were rigged, the votes were flipped, the ballots were counted multiple times, fake ballots were brought in, signatures weren't checked, the recount was wrong, the audit was corrupt, and so on and so on and so on. The breadth and depth of fraud allegations is stunning, which is exactly the point. One or two allegations are easily checked and either verified or debunked. Flooding media with every allegation in the book makes it 1) impossible to debunk due to the sheer volume, and 2) more likely that some of the allegations will be believed, regardless of actual evidence.
It's Steve Bannon's "flood the zone with sh*t" approach to handling the media, and unfortunately, it works.
Oftentimes, the journey to our true calling is winding and unexpected. Take Lainey Morse, who went from office manager to creator of the viral trend, Goat Yoga, thanks to her natural affinity for goats and throwing parties.
Back in 2015, Lainey bought a farm in Oregon and got her first goats who she named Ansel and Adams. "Once I got them, I was obsessed," says Lainey. "It was hard to get me off the farm to go do anything else."
Right away, she noticed what a calming presence they had. "Even the way they chew their cud is relaxing to be around because it's very methodical," she says. Lainey was going through a divorce and dealing with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis at the time, but even when things got particularly hard, the goats provided relief.
"I found it impossible to be stressed or depressed when I was with them."
She started inviting friends up to the farm for what she called "Goat Happy Hour." Soon, the word spread about Lainey's delightful, stress-relieving furry friends. At one point, she auctioned off a child's birthday party at her farm, and the mom asked if they could do yoga with the goats. And lo, the idea for goat yoga was born.
A baby goat on a yoga student. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
Goat yoga went viral so much so that by fall of 2016, Lainey was able to quit her office manager job at a remodeling company to manage her burgeoning goat yoga business full-time. Now she has 10 locations nationwide.
Lainey handles the backend management for all of her locations, and loves that side of the business too, even though it's less goat-related. "I still have my own personal Goat Happy Hour every single day so I still get to spend a lot of time with my goats," says Lainey. "I get the best of both worlds."
Lainey with her goat Fabio. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
Since COVID-19 hit, her locations have had to close temporarily. She hopes her yoga locations will be able to resume classes in the spring when the vaccine is more widely available. "I think people will need goat yoga more than ever before, because everyone has been through so much stress in 2020," says Lainey.
Major life changes like Lainey's can come around for any number of reasons. Even if they seem out of left field to some, it doesn't mean they're not the right moves for you. The new FOX series "Call Me Kat", which premieres Sunday, January 3rd after NFL and will continue on Thursday nights beginning January 7th, exemplifies that. The show is centered around Kat, a 39-year old single woman played by Mayim Bialik, who quit her math professor job and spent her life's savings to pursue her dreams to open a Cat Café in Louisville, Kentucky.
We're not freaking out, you're freaking out (but in the BEST way!) 🤩#CallMeKat premieres Sunday, January 3 on @FOXTV after NFL. pic.twitter.com/XhylqSVeMB
— CallMeKat (@CallMeKatFOX) December 22, 2020
Jeff Harry started making similar moves when he was just 10-years-old, and kept making them throughout his life. After seeing the movie "Big,"Jeff knew he wanted to play with toys for a living, so he started writing toy companies asking for next steps. He finally got a response when he was a sophomore in high school — the company told him he needed to become a mechanical engineer first.
Her students’ answers shocked her, and she shared some of the notes on Twitter.
One read: "I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3 years old and I haven’t seen him in 6 years."
A belligerent anti-masker in Victoria, British Columbia started 2021 nearly $700 poorer for forgetting the number one rule of riding in a cab: the driver is always in charge.
On New Year's Day at 1 am, a cab driver picked up the man who was clearly intoxicated and refused to wear a mask. The drunk guy also put his hands in the driver's face while he was operating the vehicle.
While refusing to wear a mask and to social distance in any location is dangerous, the drunk passenger was being especially terrible because COVID-19 is more likely to be spread in the confined, indoor space of a cab.