When the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked brain cancer patient Amelia Meyer for her one true wish, the 8-year-old Kansas City girl didn’t ask for a trip to Disneyland or a visit from a celebrity.
Instead, Amelia’s wish to “take care of the world” helped galvanize community cleanups Saturday across Kansas City and elsewhere throughout the country.
Hundreds of volunteers turned out for the Saturday morning park and neighborhood cleanups before the culminating event in Swope Park. There, Mayor Sly James thanked Amelia for her “selfless dream” and “for being such a really neat kid.”
James said he wasn’t surprised to see the large turnout of volunteers picking up trash in Swope Park, because Kansas City is a place where people truly care and turn out to help a good cause. But he applauded Amelia’s generous and wise personal crusade that had inspired so many others.
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They showed up at Romey Hills Park and the New Mark neighborhood subdivision in Kansas City, North, as well as at Macken Park in North Kansas City and then at Swope Park, filling countless trash bags on a gorgeous late February day.
Amelia, shy but cheerful, was too busy picking up debris and visiting with participants to pause for an interview. But her mother, Jill, said it had been a great day.
Amelia’s father, Dan, and 11-year-old brother, Carson, were also present as a large crowd watched James present Amelia a proclamation at the Swope Park Band Pavilion.
Jill Meyer thanked the crowd for responding in such an enthusiastic way to her daughter’s wish and appeal.
“We’re so touched by what you all have done for our little girl,” Jill Meyer told the large gathering. “It brings her such a smile.”
Later, in an interview, Jill Meyer said her daughter’s prognosis is uncertain but they remain hopeful.
“Cancer kids are amazing. My daughter is amazing,” Jill Meyer said. “She’s been so strong.”
And while her daughter’s wish has inspired so many people, Meyer said, the community reaction has also been a big lift for her daughter.
Make-A-Wish helped organize Saturday’s events, which were sponsored by Helzberg Diamonds, Jill Meyer’s employer.
Similar events were held in St. Louis, Springfield and Cape Girardeau, Mo., and the 220 Helzberg Diamonds stores across the country were spreading the word about the campaign. Organizers hope the idea will grow and span more than just one day.
Learn more at www.mo. wish.org/AmeliasWish.