I recently shared some of our cast members’ favorite memories with Make-A-Wish recipients and their families, which represented a few of the 100,000 wishes The Walt Disney Company has fulfilled with Make-A-Wish. One Disneyland Resort cast member who has a particularly special connection with Make-A-Wish is Chelsey McConnell.
Before joining the Disneyland Resort Corporate Citizenship team to help fulfill Disney wishes, Chelsey served as an intern with Make-A-Wish, coordinating volunteer work. At one event for wish recipients, Chelsey instantly connected with volunteer Matthew McConnell. A friendship began, and four years later the couple married.
“It was encouraging to know there was someone out there who cared as much about Make-A-Wish as I did,” Chelsey said. Matthew’s younger brother was a recipient of a wish about 20 years ago that sent their family to Walt Disney World Resort. The trip gave their family a reprieve from the hardships of medical treatment. “Because of that, Matthew wanted to give back to the organization that did so much for his family.”
Instead of gifts to their wedding attendees, the McConnells decided to give back to Make-A-Wish in honor of their guests and used the Disney Employee Matching Gift program to match their donation. Not only does Chelsey work on wish visits to the Disneyland Resort, she and Matthew continue to volunteer with Make-A-Wish. They also participate in the annual Walk for Wishes event and attend the foundation’s annual gala.
“Disney and Make-A-Wish are two big passions for me,” Chelsey said. “One of the reasons I really wanted to work for Disney is because of our commitment to making wishes come true for Make-A-Wish recipients and their families.”