MSU, U-M compete in Make-A-Wish competition

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan is about to receive a big boost. The “Make Blue and Green Wishes Come True” campaign runs this week at University of Michigan and MSU. The fundraising competition is part of the lead up to the MSU vs. U-M basketball game this weekend.

Make-A-Wish fundraising tables have been set up at four on-campus locations: Brody Square, South Pointe at Case Hall, the Gallery at Snyder-Phillips, and the Union; as well as one at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital, said human biology senior Dan McAree, the organizer of the MSU side of the event.

“Make Blue and Green Wishes Come True” originated at U-M. It was the idea of U-M neuroscience senior Brandon Yanik and his father, a physician at Mott Children’s Hospital and a board member of Make-A-Wish Michigan.

“We were thinking about how to get students involved,” Yanik said. “We came up with the idea of a Michigan-Michigan State competition.”

The idea worked, and McAree joined the team to rally the troops at MSU.

“(Brandon) approached me to see if I would head up the event at MSU,” he said. “I was definitely interested because it’s a great cause.”

McAree has spent the last few weeks trying to spread the word as much as possible, an effort that has included promotional videos starring former U-M football head coach Lloyd Carr and MSU basketball legend Mateen Cleaves.

Make-A-Wish Michigan grants the wishes of Michigan children with life-threatening medical conditions. The foundation has granted the wishes of more than 7,000 Michigan children since its inception in 1984, according to the website. Past wishes include trips to Walt Disney World, road trips across the country and meeting celebrity and sport heroes — some from MSU.

In 2009, 12-year-old Cameron Lanore’s wish came true when he met the MSU football team and watched on the sidelines as the Spartans defeated Western Michigan, 49-14. Lanore had been diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan Anemia.

The on-campus tables are staffed by volunteers from MSU Stars, a student organization that raises money for Make-A-Wish Michigan throughout the school year. All of the funds donated go toward granting the wishes of Michigan children. Food science junior Kelly Kaake, a wish granter for MSU Stars, said she was happy to give her time to the campaign.

“It is a nice little (competition) between MSU and U of M … it is fun to help with this unique event,” Kaake said.

Karen Davis, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Michigan, said she’s proud of the work both teams have put forward to help the cause.

“The couple of groups at Michigan and Michigan State are just great, we are really excited about this,” she said. “The students have really driven this all forward.”

As of Wednesday evening, MSU had raised $1,850 in online donations and hundreds more at the tables. U-M had raised $3,065 online, as well as several hundred at the tables.

Both Yanik and McAree hope the “Make Blue and Green Wishes Come True” competition becomes an annual event and raises more and more money to grant wishes.

“We’ve gotten a great response (this year) … and it’s going to be even better in the next few years,” Yanik said.

Donations to Make-A-Wish Michigan for the Spartan team can be made at Make-A-Wish tables around campus, online on the Make-A-Wish Michigan site, or by texting “WISH” to 5055, which automatically deducts a $5 donation.

Staff writer Robert Bondy contributed to this report.

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