Make-A-Wish Australia's longest serving volunteer - Frank Jackowiak
Make-A-Wish Australia's longest serving volunteer - Frank JackowiakHuge congratulations to Make-A-Wish Australia volunteer, Frank Jackowiak, who recently celebrated 30 years of making wishes come true. Read on to find out what keeps our longest-serving volunteer inspired.
What made you decide to get involved with Make-A Wish?
"My then business partner and co-founder of the Adelaide branch, John Hender, and I were both considering joining some type of community group when we heard Evelyn Rigbye speaking about Make-A-Wish on the radio one morning in January 1986. As we were both members of the Life Underwriters Association who were backing the newly formed Make-A-Wish at the time, we thought it would be a natural fit. 30 years later, I’m still here.”
How has volunteering for Make-A-Wish impacted your life?
“It’s been an amazing journey. My wife Helen and I have five very fine (most of the time!) and healthy children, not to mention two beautiful grandchildren. We’re also blessed to be able to assist families who have a child with a life threatening medical condition and to help grant a life-changing wish.
“It’s been a humbling experience, with strangers opening their doors to us and looking forward to our working a bit of magic into the lives of their children"
“It’s been a humbling experience, with strangers opening their doors to us and looking forward to our working a bit of magic into the lives of their children (and siblings). Volunteering for Make-A-Wish has taught us not to take anything for granted; it only takes an event or change in health to turn your world upside down. We count our blessings.”
How do you find the time to volunteer for us?
“I’m very fortunate that I’ve been self-employed for most of my working life, with Helen working in my office (telling me what to do!) for the last ten years. This has provided me with flexibility to do things and meet supporters during the day, although of course you pay for that at times by staying back late at work to catch up, or working on weekends. Still, both Helen and I are passionate about granting cherished wishes and Make-A-Wish has always been a high priority for us.”
What is your best memory of Make-A-Wish so far?
“It’s so difficult to choose one particular moment that stands out. Naturally, all the wishes I’ve been involved with have been special - that’s what Make-A-Wish is all about! Even the difficult ones have left me feeling like I’ve done something special for that child and their family.
"I’ve been so fortunate in being part of such a proactive and successful branch. Adelaide now has 10 volunteers who have been with the organisation for over 20 years! I also really enjoyed my five years on the Make-A-Wish International Nominating Committee, having had the opportunity of interviewing some amazing people who’ve gone on to be Board Members of Make-A-Wish International.
“There are so many memories, but first and foremost comes each and every wish, and the wonderful staff and volunteers that make it all happen.”
How important is Make-A-Wish to you?
“It’s a huge part of my and Helen’s life; I’m sure life would be very different if we hadn’t been part of Make-A-Wish. Apart from our work, our family, our church and Make-A-Wish are all very precious to us and form the core around which our lives are built. We’ve made many friends in and through Make-A-Wish and it’s one of a small number of charities that we regularly donate to. The power of a wish is not just amazing, it’s irresistible!”