Girl’s 10th birthday wish to ‘pay it forward’ to Make-A-Wish Michigan

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., -- Instead of presents, Aubrey Cohoon's only birthday wish on January 19th was to help sick kids have their wishes come true. The 10-year-old asked for donations to benefit Make-A-Wish Michigan, the state chapter of the national non-profit that grants about a wish a day to kids ages 2-18 that are facing a life-threatening condition.

"I knew they help kids make their dreams come true, and I knew mine were coming true, so I wanted to help them," Cohoon told FOX 17 News. "Cause I already had enough presents from the last birthday."

The young figure skater ended up raising $1,653 for Make-A-Wish Michigan, but that was only the beginning. Challenged by her gym teacher at Holmes Elementary School to do the "cold water challenge" the same month, Cohoon accepted the challenge and chose to do her "jump" on frozen water rather than into freezing water. She also agreed to give back to the charity of her choice, Make-A-Wish Michigan, by forming a team and fundraising for the Walk For Wishes on September 13th.

To date, she's raised more than $2,000 thousand dollars for Make-A-Wish and has recruited more than 20 team members to walk with her next weekend.

"I was blown away. I was very moved by the gesture Aubrey did," said Ellie Wilcox, Director of Leadership Giving for Make-A-Wish Michigan. "Aubrey's support is helping to make almost a whole wish come true."

Wilcox, who herself had a wish granted at 17 when she was battling leukemia, said fulfilling a wish has a big impact on the child and their family.

"It's amazing what a wish can do," she said. "It allows time to just be able to put away that medical side and the scary times to just get away and do something fun, something that this child may not have ever been able to do before."

Aubrey has already said she plans to once again ask for donations for Make-A-Wish on her 11th birthday. On previous birthdays, she's also raised hundreds of dollars to help local kids who had lost their father to cancer and the People Center, a transitional home in Spring Lake.

The Walk For Wishes is coming up on Saturday, September 13th 2014 at John Ball Zoo. (1300 W Fulton St Grand Rapids, MI 49504)

To donate or join Aubrey's team click here.

To learn more about the Walk for Wishes and Make-A-Wish, click here.

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