Wellington resident Annie Ruiz was recently honored by Make-A-Wish Southern Florida for “Most Wishes Granted” in its 30-year history.
Wish granters like Ruiz are volunteers who help determine what a child with a life-threatening medical condition wants to wish for and then they work with Make-A-Wish staff to fulfill the request.
Ruiz has been the nonprofit’s point person on nearly 200 wishes since she began volunteering in 1995. To put the accomplishment in perspective, there are only 13 individuals in the chapter’s history who have granted half as many as Ruiz, with three of them just reaching the 100-wish milestone this year.
Ruiz does most of her wish granting in Belle Glade, Pahokee and Clewiston in neighborhoods that other volunteers are reluctant to travel to. She often meets families at the local McDonalds, where they know her as the “wish lady,” and she is sometimes the only volunteer serving those communities.
Make-A-Wish allows any medically eligible child to “make a wish,” to go somewhere, meet someone, have something or be something, that they are granted, at no cost to the family, to bring hope, strength and joy to those dealing with a child’s serious medical issue. Ruiz is the embodiment of that mission and more efficient at it than any other person in the local chapter’s history.
ABOVE: Annie Ruiz with her husband, Claudio.