10 years of wishes: How a popular family attraction helps grant wishes for kids facing critical illness

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(BPT) - The pandemic has disrupted a lot of lives, and among those disruptions has been the removal of access to many forms of comfort and entertainment loved by the kids who need them the most. Six-year-old Joshua looked forward to playing arcade games with his brothers after each time he had to undergo another medical treatment for his blood and bone marrow cancer — until the pandemic hit. Then he no longer had that fun time to look forward to. As a wish kid for Make-A-Wish, Joshua knew exactly what he wanted.

“I wish to have an arcade game,” Joshua said.

And thanks to the popular “Eat, Drink, Play and Watch” venue Dave & Buster’s, Joshua’s wish was quickly granted. Dave & Buster’s arranged to actually bring Joshua's favorite arcade game right to him, so he could enjoy spending time playing the game with his brothers safely at home. On his wish granting day, Joshua and his brothers were beyond excited about their favorite game being right there at their fingertips. Joshua and his parents even made an appearance on Good Day LA for World Wish Day to celebrate the granting of his wish.

This is just one example of the thousands of life-changing wishes that have been granted to children with critical illnesses thanks to the partnership of Dave & Busters with Make-A-Wish. In fact, this year celebrates the milestone 10th anniversary of Dave & Buster’s continuing partnership with Make-A-Wish — marking a whopping $15 million in total giving since 2012, thanks to the generosity of the company, its employees and its customers. The company raises money every year to help grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions, as well as hosting wish send-off parties, donating Power Cards for wish kids to play games at their venues and much more. Since 2012, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 150,000 wishes to children with critical illnesses, thanks in part to Dave & Buster's and the more than $15 million they've raised to help support the mission.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of our partnership with Dave & Buster's this year. Since 2012, Dave & Buster's has given more than $15 million to help grant wishes to kids all across America," said Richard Davis, president and CEO, Make-A-Wish America. "Their hard work to elevate the fundraising campaigns is directly reflected in the success we see each year. We are so grateful for their help in making an impact for so many wish kids and their families in communities throughout the United States."

And this partnership is not slowing down any time soon. This year, Dave & Buster’s will be launching new fundraising opportunities to help raise even more funds for Make-A-Wish in about 143 locations across the United States plus two locations in Canada. Dave & Buster's also has new chef-crafted menu items that rotate seasonally, including a featured item in which $1 is donated to Make-A-Wish with every order. You can try the next featured Make-A-Wish menu item starting May 1 — Cinnamon Toast Crunch Fried Ice Cream!

"Our team members and guests love knowing that Dave & Buster's has made a difference in the lives of many wish kids over the past 10 years," said Dave & Buster's SVP/CMO Brandon Coleman III. "It's a powerful purpose and we're looking forward to continuing to grow our partnership with Make-A-Wish for years to come."

To learn more about giving opportunities near you, or to donate online to help kids with critical illnesses see their wishes granted, visit Wish.org.