Concord Junior High is back to grant wishes with Make-A-Wish

NOW: Concord Junior High is back to grant wishes with Make-A-Wish

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ELKHART, Ind.,--Concord Junior High School has raised over 435,000 dollars since it started raising money for the organization in 1995. However, that was put on hold due to COVID protocol.

Friday morning, Concord Junior High School in Elkhart County kicked off their month-long make-a-wish fundraiser. The event featured a keynote speaker, Lisa McKee, the mother of a former recipient. She says the foundation gave her family an unforgettable experience during a difficult time.

"It brought us kind of out of a dark place where we were just kind of focused on doctors, appointments, hospital stays, surgeries and just brought us together and let us have some fun or we didn't have to think about those things." Said McKee.

Her son, Bobby, was always a fan of the theater program at Concord Junior High—which was the inspiration for his wish-to be on tv.

During spring break of 2005, his wish was granted. He was flown to Hollywood to watch a live taping and behind-the-scenes look at the teen drama, the O.C. But that’s not all! The crew enjoyed his energy so much that he got to play an extra in an episode.

Bobby is 33-years-old now, and his story is motivation for the students of Concord Junior High to raise funds for the next generation.

This year’s recipient is Jack, an 11-year-old diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2021. He dreams of going to California for a Los Angeles car experience and a trip to the famous Randy’s Donuts.

Jack is a celebrity at Concord, and the students are excited to rally for his wish to come true.

His mother, Shirley Dorbin, is impressed by the students’ drive to help.

"It's hard to understand. I have a 14-year-old, my 14-year-old said I didn't get what a cancer journey looks like and you really don't until you're there…For these students to put themselves selflessly-- like to do that kind of philanthropy -- for that to matter to them. I think that's extraordinary,” said Durbin.

It’s no surprise that Jack received such a warm welcome as he ran across the stage, waving at all of his friends in the audience. Every student, staff member and teacher were cheering him on. He has an incredibly fun and joyful yet spontaneous energy. When the news crews were setting up, he grabbed the microphone and started improvising a breaking news scene about two officers receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart. He had everyone laughing.

Because of his diagnosis—it’s been difficult for the family, but thanks to Jack’s Snacks, they’ve found a way to not only brighten the experience for themselves but for other families going through similar experiences.

Jack and his family pack snacks for patients. It started when people sent him gifts; he received tons of toys and games, but what did he really want? A snack. Dorbin says it’s hard to grab a bite to eat when you have to run around to various appointments or hospital cafeterias close, so friends sent him their favorite snacks.

"They're like 'oh you need to go to the clinic for an eye exam and you need to go here for an ear exam, and you need to go here.' And so we sometimes spend the whole day running around and there was a little like I'm hungry. So he would go to labs at Beacon twice a week. And so we would drive there, and they would give us treats, and so I talk to her and said can we share some of this with you I don't know what the policies are 'oh yeah' and so we came up with Jack's snacks,” said Dorbin.

They would receive snacks from other families, gift boxes from families who honor their children that passed away. Dorbin struggled telling Jack about each kid’s passing as he is fighting his own battle. They wanted to pass along gifts to other children that are also fighting their own battles, to let them know they’re not alone and that they can keep going too.

They received a large collection of snacks and donated the treats. First, they filled the snack boxes with Jack’s favorite snacks, and then they started doing some research for protein-packed snack boxes, healthy boxes and more. They have donated over 360 boxes to Beacon Hospital.

The school will be hosting events at Concord Junior High School, including a 5k or 1 mile ‘fun run’ on Saturday, March 26 from 11 am to 12:30 pm which is open to the public.

If you’re interested in donating or participating in the event, click here.

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