West Hunsaker decided to become involved with Make-A-Wish Arizona and planned giving because it’s near and dear to his heart. His daughter’s friend, Katie Wagner, was diagnosed with cancer at 15 years old.
Make-A-Wish Arizona granted Katie’s wish to go on a Caribbean cruise, where she and her family were able to spend treasured time together.
The effect of the wish on Katie and her family moved West and his wife to create a way to highlight the importance of supporting Make-A-Wish. Through planned giving, they offer families a chance to create a meaningful way to impact others.
Recently, West was featured on YurView’s Arizona Living show. Watch the video above to view the story, or read the full transcription below (lightly edited for clarity).
West Hunsaker, Partner, Morris Hall, PLLC (00:01) – My oldest daughter, Cassie, had a lifelong friend named Katie Wagner. And they were best friends since they were four years old. Katie lived in our house, basically. We would take her on vacations.
(00:14) – And one day, when they were sophomores in high school, we got a text from her dad that asked us to come down to the hospital. And there we found out that Katie had just been diagnosed with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma.
Cassie Cardoso, Katie’s best friend (00:32) – It’s something at 15 that you can’t wrap your mind around. You know, cancer is like a grandparent disease. So that something, anything was wrong with my friend, but especially something so serious.
WH (00:48) – How they held up during this process was incredible. They’re certainly a family that has a strong faith. But what was really inspiring was how Katie held up and really helped keep everyone else up through this process. Her example was unbelievable. She actually started going and working with other kids with cancer, to try and help motivate them, and help get them through their treatments.
(01:15) – And often as a friend, you ask – What can I do to help? – when there’s really, other than being there, nothing to do. So the next morning, I found a number for someone at Make-A-Wish and just told them who I was and asked how I can help. But her wish was to go to the Caribbean.
CC (01:38) – She wanted to make sure it was something that her family could enjoy. She knew also it had been a really hard time on her family. So I think that was a big motivator for her wish. Her wish was something that they could all enjoy. And they went on a family cruise together. And I know that they treasure those memories. It was something that they still hold so special because she passed away not too long after. It was such a special gift that they were able to go spend that time together.
WH (02:11) – The reason I decided to get involved with Make-A-Wish and start helping, especially with planned giving, was because it was an opportunity of a charity, which through Katie and through other Wish kids we’ve been involved with has become incredibly tender to myself, my wife and our entire family. We both truly believe that planned giving is an incredible example for our children to be able to see what’s really important in life.
(02:42) – And with planned giving, it’s never too young, too early or too late to do a planned gift. The best time is now to create one. Update your will, update your trust to make sure you leave a legacy to the community and to your family.
For more information about Make-A-Wish Arizona, visit arizona.wish.org.