A Special Wish Foundation was the first wish granting organization in the state of Ohio and the third such organization in the nation.
The organization was founded by Ramona Damron-Fickle, a former hospice volunteer, who was concerned about the lack of services for children with life-threatening disorders.
In 1981, Ramona began to develop an organization to meet the wish-granting needs of children in Ohio. Today, this program is available to children from coast to coast.
“Seed” money was provided to the Foundation as a contribution from Cliff Damron, in memory of his wife, Gladys, who was known among family and friends for her active role in providing spiritual and physical support for disadvantaged children and their families.
The first organizational meeting was held in March 1982, at the Children’s Hospital in Columbus. A 12-member Board of Directors representing a broad spectrum of the state was seated to administer the program.
In 1985, the original Board of Directors became the National Board of Governors that currently administers the program on a national level.
The Foundation’s Articles of Incorporation were filed in Columbus in May 1982. The Foundation was later determined to be exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The first wish was granted in 1982 to 6-year-old Amber Johnson, who was suffering from leukemia. Amber and her family visited her favorite characters, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, at their home in Disney World.
Today, A Special Wish Foundation is one of the largest wish granting organizations in the United States. In the 34 years since Amber Johnson’s wish, wishes have been granted to thousands of qualifying children.