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Make-A-Wish Maine raises money for kids in need

The 20th annual Walk for Wishes is taking place on May 16 to raise money for the pine tree state's Make-A-Wish chapter.

MAINE, USA — For years, the Make-A-Wish foundation has been helping to make kids' dreams come true.

But the organization that helps so many people sometimes needs help from the surrounding community, just like the rest of us.

That's why the 20th annual Walk for Wishes is taking place on May 16 to raise money for the pine tree state's Make-A-Wish chapter.

"What most people don't know is that there are individual chapters all around the country, and we just serve the state of Maine," said Make-A-Wish Maine's events manager Samantha Elliot. "So all of the money that is raised here stays here and serves kids with critical illnesses here in Maine."

Sophia Shaw experienced the magic of Make-A-Wish Maine first hand. She was diagnosed with Leukemia in January of 2016 when she was 2 years old.

"Looking forward to her wish was wonderful," said Sophia's mother, Jessica Shaw.

The chapter sent Sophia and her family to the Disney resort in Hawaii where Sophia's dream came true -- she got to meet characters Moana and Stitch.

"It was fun and exciting, at the same time," Sophia recalls. "I was a little bit scared at first, but it turned out to be good."

While Make-A-Wish has been around for decades, there are still a lot of things people don't know about it.

"I was so surprised to learn that it wasn't just for terminally ill children," said Jessica. "I found out really quickly that this was for kids with critical illnesses but not terminally ill."

It takes money to give wishes to kids in need -- so Make-A-Wish Maine is hoping to see a lot of friendly faces at its walk in May.

Anyone interested in learning more can visit maine.wish.org.