Rancho Santa Fe resident Jim Peterson and his family were recently named the 2014 Make-A-Wish San Diego’s “Friends and Family” honoree. The recognition was made to honor all of the Peterson’s contributions this past year after being introduced to the organization when their daughter, Tina, battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Make-A-Wish is an organization that grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Through dedicated staff, volunteers, donors, and other supporters, they aim to play the important role of helping strengthen and empower children all over the country.
Make-A-Wish San Diego grants about 200 wishes a year. “It takes between $7,000 and $8,000 on average, per wish to make a wish come true for a child. Some less, some more,” CEO Chris Sichel said. “We have found that a wish is the turning point often times in a child’s recovery and has helped the child and family look to the future with optimism, instead of pessimism.”
“During her treatment, she was advised that she was eligible to receive a wish from the organization,” said Peterson. “Since Tina is a performer, she asked to go to the Grammys, and in 2013 her wish was granted. In addition, due to her connection to the organization, Tina was asked to sing the National Anthem at the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl to a standing ovation only two months after she finished her treatment. She’s been officially in remission for three years now, and Make-A-Wish was instrumental in her recovery and, frankly, uplifting for our entire family.”
“We got to watch Grammy rehearsal, we went to the Grammy Museum, we went to Universal Studios,” she said.
Tina was diagnosed with lymphoma a couple of years ago. “It’s life threatening, but the prognosis for lymphoma versus other cancers is very good, so I feel very lucky,” she said.
Since then, Tina has performed the Anthem for Make-A-Wish at a Padres game, at the team luncheon for the Poinsettia Bowl in 2013, and at a recent Make-A-Wish fundraiser called the Tuna Challenge. Other performances have included singing at the organization’s various fundraisers on the Humphrey’s stage in 2013 and 2014, as well as at the Oceanside Amphitheater.
She is currently a student at San Diego State University, studying business and business.
Tina’s experiences with Make-A-Wish organization has gotten the entire family involved. Tina is not only a Make-A-Wish “ambassador”, but also works as an intern in the wish-granting department.
Wife Kim Peterson is a founding member of the organization’s “Wish Circle”, a group of women who have organized to raise money to fund wishes for Make-A-Wish San Diego. Jim Peterson was elected to the Make-A-Wish Foundation San Diego Board of Directors just last April. Tina’s older sister Daniel also volunteers for the organization as a “wish granter”, and helping out elsewhere whenever she can.
“The Peterson family embodies giving back, and we’re so fortunate to have them as part of the Make-A-Wish Family,” said Sichel. “We’re proud to have Tina as one of most active young volunteers. Their story is inspiring and one that gives hope to so many of our wish kids. They are most deserving of this award!”