AARPColumnists

Reimagine Everything: Wish of a Lifetime From AARP

By June 18, 2021June 24th, 2021No Comments

Ron Mori

We can all use some good news, and here’s your opportunity to nominate a special someone in your life with a Wish of a Lifetime.

Last August, in the middle of the pandemic, AARP announced that it was joining forces with the Colorado-based charity Wish of a Lifetime to help older adults fulfill their lifelong dreams. Since its founding in 2008, Wish of a Lifetime has made over two thousand wishes come true for older residents of all 50 states and D.C. It has now rebranded as “Wish of a Lifetime from AARP.”

“By bringing Wish of a Lifetime into the AARP family, AARP believes that its important work can reach more people — both those who want to give help and wish applicants — and ultimately combat the negative effects of isolation, strengthen social ties and intergenerational connections and help wish recipients achieve a lifelong dream,” said Scott Frisch, AARP executive vp and COO. “AARP has long worked to empower people to choose how they live as they age, and by joining forces, we want people to know it’s never too late to dream — regardless of their age.”

Wish of a Lifetime from AARP continues to accept wish nominations online at www.wishofalifetime.org. During the coronavirus crisis, Wish of a Lifetime has modified its wish-granting program to focus on virtual wishes and wishes that can happen safely within recipients’ homes and communities.

“This is a critical moment to scale up Wish of a Lifetime’s work and impact,” said Jeremy Bloom, the two-time Olympian who founded Wish of a Lifetime in tribute to his grandmother.

“My grandparents sparked my love of skiing, a sport that took me around the globe to witness other cultures’ respect for older people. I have had the ability and resources to chase my dreams. And I am proud that, for a dozen years, Wish of a Lifetime has helped older people pursue their dreams — a mission that, with AARP, will now reach even more people.”

Recent Wish recipients include:

  • Marguerite Miller, 92, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: As a 12-year-old, Miller survived the Nazi invasion of France in 1940 and worked alongside her mother to hide Allied pilots downed over her homeland. Her experiences fueled a lifelong aspiration to skydive, which Wish of a Lifetime helped her to fulfill.
  • Bertha Nunn, 87, of Waldorf, Md.: Nunn’s family caregiving responsibilities took priority over her childhood dream of being an actress. Through Wish of a Lifetime, Nunn got to appear in a TV commercial for Crest toothpaste, which aired last December. She said of the experience: “When we get up in age, we’re just thrown away. But this is something we can do in our 80s.”
  • Salvatore Reale, 90, of Seminole, Fla.: The Bronx native and retired firefighter, now living in Florida, has been a Yankees fan since 1936. Wish of a Lifetime helped Reale return to Ladder 136, his old fire station, which honored him for his service. Then, he threw out the first pitch at a Yankees game.

With nearly 38 million members, the nation’s most-read magazine and many other communications channels, AARP has already begun to bring a national spotlight to older adults who dream and those who want to help make those dreams come true. Its September 2020 issue, AARP Bulletin, which reaches some 23 million homes, featured the stories of Miller, Nunn and Reale.

AARP was founded in 1958 by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired high school principal, to champion positive aging, fight age discrimination, develop solutions to the problems and challenges faced by older Americans and upend negative stereotypes.

Ron Mori is a member of the Washington, D.C., JACL chapter and manager of community, states and national affairs — multicultural leadership for AARP.

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