Finn was diagnosed last year with hepatoblastoma and was granted his wish to be a "cool kid,” because “cool kids have girlfriends.” For his wish, Finn received the red-carpet treatment, complete with autograph signing, a new outfit and a temporary tattoo. Dressed in sunglasses and a leather jacket, Finn stormed the red carpet, saying hello to everyone waiting for him. He even ran the red carpet twice and was overjoyed when a group of girls took him to get his temporary tattoo, followed by some sugary treats. This year, Finn and Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire helped kick off the Macy's Believe Campaign.
The campaign was inspired by seven words. In 1897, Virginia wrote a letter to the New York Sun newspaper asking whether Santa Claus existed. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” the paper’s editor responded. “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist and you know that they abound and give to our life its highest beauty and joy…”
A sentiment we needed people to hear once again.
Then came the idea.
Fast forward to 2008. Macy's, in collaboration with Make-A-Wish, launched its first Believe campaign, a program that collected letters to Santa at special, red letterboxes installed in every Macy’s store across the nation. Seven years later, Macy's "Believe" campaign has raised $8.7 million for Make-A-Wish.
Macy’s Believe campaign aims to inspire people to embrace the spirit of generosity and goodwill of the season. Over the past few years, the number of letters has continued to increase, with schools, daycares and wish kids themselves – like Finn -- participating.
Finn and his schoolmates listened to the story of Virginia O'Hanlon, enjoyed delicious hot chocolate and then sat down to write their own letters to Santa. Finn asked for a video game for his Xbox and his friends asked for toys. One classmate had a special request for Santa – for “people, children and dogs that have cancer to get better.”
The Believe campaign has helped Make-A-Wish grant more and better wishes. The challenge, however, is to build on that success and inspire Virginia’s message long into the future the message: to believe.