issue 020, 2023 q1

Community spotlight

Highlighting Make-A-Wish and the capacity to imagine

Heather Lawley
global head of diversity, equity and inclusion and environmental, social and governance, Sedgwick

Corporate citizenship is integral to the work culture at Sedgwick. Our caring counts philosophy shapes our corporate giving strategy. In addition to caring for our 30,000 dedicated colleagues, we are equally committed to supporting clients and communities around the world.

In line with this community-focused strategy, we partner each quarter with a charitable organization whose goals align with one of our strategic giving pillars — education, well-being, social services and sustainability. And as we wrap up each year, we identify an organization that’s particularly meaningful to our colleagues and clients to support as part of Sedgwick’s annual season of giving campaign. Our colleagues chose Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses, to be the beneficiary of 2022’s campaign.

The inspiring work of Make-A-Wish aligns well with our focus on well-being and embodies the 2023 theme of our strategic efforts around thought leadership: Imagine. Many around the world are embracing new possibilities — imagining what comes next after the pandemic, stepping into other societal and personal changes, and moving forward rather than looking back. Here at Sedgwick, we imagine, too. We’re looking ahead as we imagine a world filled with deeper connections. A world filled with empathy for others. A world filled with more ways to help. We continue to imagine a world where caring counts.

In the spirit of dreaming big and believing anything is possible, we’re proud to support Make-A-Wish and to highlight their work in granting life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. Each of us has the power to help a child imagine a brighter tomorrow. We invite you to join us in sharing your dreams for the future, donating to a powerful cause — and imagining a world where anything is possible.

In the spirit of dreaming big and believing anything is possible, we're proud to support Make-A-Wish and to highlight their work in granting life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses.

My two decades of involvement with Make-A-Wish

Patrick Walsh
president, casualty, Sedgwick

Twenty-two years ago, my wife Kristin and I headed to what we expected would be a routine golf outing in Chicago. The event was hosted in support of Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Several wish kids, along with their families, stepped forward to speak about the transformative impact their wish journey had on their lives and medical recoveries. In hindsight, it was impossible to see at the time that our choice to attend that day, and each child whose testimonial we absorbed, would spark the beginning of a long philanthropic commitment. This organization wouldn’t only change the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families; it would change ours, too.

As wish granters, volunteers like us act as conduits between the wish child and family and the Make-A-Wish organization. We meet with the child, sometimes more than once, and spend time trying to help that child answer an enormous question: “What is your one true wish?” The kids often have trouble wrapping their minds around asking for anything at all, much less something big — something that in everyday life would never leave the realm of a daydream. Most kids keep it simple: a dress or a toy. Part of our role is to assure them they can think beyond their reality of a life-threatening medical diagnosis. Make-A-Wish teaches children, and has taught us, that it’s okay to dream big!

As part of the wish-granting process, the paperwork is filed, legwork is completed, and the wish is created. Then comes the big day — and the wish granter can be present in granting the wish. A couple of wish-granting events in which we’ve been involved stick with me, even now. One young man wanted to meet the Duke University basketball team, and former head coach Mike Krzyzewski had his team prepared for the boy’s arrival. The boy was given a team pullover, welcomed into the locker room, got to accompany the players during warmups, and sat on the team’s bench during the game. In another instance, a young girl had always dreamt of having her own horse. She was granted a horse — with a stable and accessories to match.

There is a common thread I’ve observed through every wish-granting process and each family’s respective experiences: that the entire journey — from the time meeting the child to the time the wish is completed and beyond — is just as important as the wish itself. Having their wish come true gives the family something wonderful on which to focus. That statement is verifiably true; according to the most recent Wish Impact Study conducted by Make-A-Wish, 75% of doctors stated that a wish could improve a child’s medical outcomes. About 91% of alumni credited the wish with improving their quality of life.

I often think about the families who spend five days a week in the children’s hospital, driving back and forth for months at a time. I’ve come to realize that if not but for the grace of God, that’s my kid.

Since that golf outing in Chicago two decades ago, much has changed in my life. Kristin and I have helped in granting more than 50 life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. I’ve spent six years on the board of the Make-A-Wish Wisconsin chapter, including two as board chair. My wife and I have actively supported the state chapter’s gala for 20 years and had the honor of serving as emcees at the last several events. I am so proud to be part of a team that has raised millions of dollars in support of wish kids and their dreams.

Make-A-Wish is an incredibly powerful organization. There are many amazing organizations that do great, charitable work across the world. But for me personally, I can’t think of anything better than helping a child who’s sick and giving hope to their family.


Walsh’s experiences volunteering for Make-A-Wish are the story of one colleague — just one of 30,000 volunteers worldwide who help make dreams come true for children battling critical illness — that exemplifies Sedgwick’s decision to support Make-A-Wish through our 2022 season of giving campaign.