SOURCE: Make-A-Wish Foundation

November 25, 2008 07:10 ET

UAW-GM Grants 10,000th Wish Through Sponsorship of Make-A-Wish Foundation®

10-Year-Old Michigan Boy Meets Barry Sanders, Current Detroit Lions; Will Ride UAW-GM Float in America's Thanksgiving Parade on Nov. 27

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - November 25, 2008) - The Make-A-Wish Foundation and national sponsors International Union, UAW and General Motors Corporation are celebrating a momentous wish milestone this month -- granting the 10,000th wish of their decade-long partnership.

To mark this achievement, the 10,000th wish recipient, Brandon, 10, of Rodney, Mich., and his family will ride on UAW-GM's float in America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27.

"Thanks to their tremendous generosity during the past decade, UAW-GM and GM have made a real difference for the 10,000 children nationwide whose wishes have been granted and countless others who were a part of their wishes," said David Williams, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America president and chief executive officer. "I want to express our gratitude for their commitment to children such as Brandon in helping make their heartfelt wishes come true."

Brandon, who was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma and recently finished a difficult regime of chemotherapy, met his all-time favorite player, former Detroit Lions star Barry Sanders, during the Lions' Nov. 9 home game. He was also the team's guest at practice Nov. 7, where he received armfuls of autographed memorabilia from the Lions and met several current Lions players and coaches.

"My favorite part of the wish was watching Brandon's face at his first Lions game -- he was yelling and cheering, and you could just tell he was loving it," said Brandon's mother, Darlene. "Barry was just so nice. He talked with [Brandon and his dad] about hunting and what kinds of things Brandon likes to do for fun. I just sat back, smiling. I couldn't believe it was happening."

As part of the sponsorship, UAW-represented GM workers and GM dealers across the country have participated in fundraising on both national and local levels and committed their personal talents to wish granting -- restoring vehicles, building playhouses, planning wish-granting parties and giving families a ride to the airport, among other activities.

"Making a commitment to community and these children, both personally and financially, is something that matters tremendously to UAW-GM people and GM dealers across the country," said Diana Tremblay, vice president labor relations, GM North America.

"For those who have had the opportunity to share the power of a wish®, it's a moving experience that will never be forgotten," said Cal Rapson, UAW vice president and director, GM department. "I have heard it said more than once, you truly get back more than what you give, and it's been our privilege."

Some wishes granted through the sponsorship have been quite practical, such as an assistance dog or special equipment to help the child communicate or become more mobile. Other children's imaginations have taken them to the moon and back, such as Johnny, 11, from Downey, Calif., who visited Kennedy Space Center and had lunch with an astronaut. The first wish granted in 1999 was to refurbish a Chevy truck for a 16-year-old Aliquippa, Pa., boy.

About the Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 66 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 171,000 wishes in the U.S. since inception. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.

About the UAW-GM Sponsorship

UAW-GM support comes from the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, which develops and administers education, training and retraining programs and joint activities for approximately 80,000 UAW-represented GM employees. To learn more about UAW-GM, visit www.uaw-gm.org.

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