ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Make-A-Wish trips for local kids have been postponed because of the coronavirus, but they’re not letting that get them down. Annabelle Barkoff is no stranger to change.
“When you have cancer, you’re not too surprised when things change,” said Barkoff. “It wasn’t the biggest change I’ve had in the past year.”
Much of her senior year was impacted by cancer, followed by the rest of her senior year transitioning to school-at-home because of the coronavirus. Make-A-Wish New Mexico decided to send her family to Hawaii.
“I was thinking a family trip is what I wanted because we don’t get many of those with my whole family,” said Barkoff. “Both my brothers are much older than me and don’t live in Albuquerque. It’s rare that we’re all in the same place and get to spend time together. So I’m excited for the opportunity to explore a place I’ve never been with my brothers and parents.”
Because of the coronavirus, local wish trips like Annabelle’s have been postponed. Reed Garrett planned to go to France and visit the site of D-Day in Normandy.
“I want to go to France because I really like the culture there,” said Garrett. “I really like visiting other places to see the buildings.”
While a postponed wish can be a bummer, some friendly faces are now reaching out, hoping to lift their spirits. Some of the celebrities who have sent “shout-outs” to Make-A-Wish kids include the Jonas Brothers and actor Ryan Reynolds.
“99.9-percent of your wishes weren’t to meet me at all. They were probably to meet The Rock,” said Reynolds. “I’ve met The Rock and I can tell you, that’s well worth a wish.”
Celebrities aren’t the only ones getting in on the action. Make-A-Wish New Mexico is also recruiting some familiar faces to help out, including UNM baseball coach Ray Birmingham, UNM men’s basketball coach Paul Weir, Greg Jackson of Jackson Wink MMA Gym, radio DJs Jackie and Tony, UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nunez and a number of New Mexico United players.
“Reed’s a big fan of the New Mexico United soccer team,” said Katy Garrett, Reed’s mom. “Make-A-Wish had some of the players give video messages to the kids.”
“Be strong, this will pass soon,” said Josh Suggs, a defender for New Mexico United, said in one of the videos. “All of your wishes are going to come true.”
Reed couldn’t agree more. Both he and Annabelle say they look forward to when their wish trips get to happen. “I know their wishes will come true,” said Garrett. “Make-A-Wish is not going to not have it happen.”
Make-A-Wish New Mexico has already granted over 2,200 wishes for local children. On average, they grant around 100 wishes every year.
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