After seeing her fifth-grade teacher’s son die of cancer, Liz Niemiec wanted to help children battling the disease. So she started a non-profit organization called the Little Wish Foundation to do just that. At this point, they have granted about 3,000 wishes to kids across the country.
“I wanted to inspire other kids to go with their gut of helping others — and don’t think twice,” Liz shares.
Meet Liz Niemiec: Little Wish founder
Liz is making kids’ wishes come true
(A child excitedly unwraps a small box)
Child 1: Oh! Look what I got!
(Another child unwraps a large Star Wars Lego set)
Child’s dad: The world!
Child 2: Oh my God!
Liz Niemiec: Little Wish foundation is a non-profit organization that grants the Little Wish gifts to children fighting cancer. So, you know, they can be anything from a shopping spree, or an iPad, or a gaming system to a puppy.
This is our front entry, and we’re super excited. It’s our first office ever. So back in 2010, I went to the wake of my fifth grade teacher’s son, Max. Max was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, which is a kidney cancer, and he battled for many years. And when I was 16 years old, I went to his wake, and I got in the car with my mom leaving the wake and I kind of just like blurted out, “I want to start a foundation for kids that are also going through cancer like Max.”
Zoe: My name is Zoe. I’m 11 years old and I’m a cancer survivor. We did a fashion show here in New York City.
(Zoe confidently walks down the runway and blows a kiss)
Little Wish has granted nearly 3,000 wishes to kids across the country
Liz: I was very much like, at the beginning, going door to door in my neighborhood saying, “This is what I’m starting. This is why, and we want to help kids with cancer. Will you donate?” Yeah. I had a whole wrapping set up in my dorm room. I was a full-time student from the time we started Little Wish until just a few years ago, so it was difficult to maintain that. At the same time, the people I’ve met while being a student and the friends, honestly — because a lot of this is like really driven by young people a lot of times.
(Reading) “Oh, Lizzy girl, thank you. All our wishes came true because of you.” So my book, Lizzy Girl and the Big Little Wish is a children’s book and it’s mostly about just my story with creating Little Wish as a young person. And I kind of wanted to just inspire other kids to go with their gut of helping others and don’t think twice. And if you have the persistence and the drive and really just the motivation, if you are so motivated by someone that inspires you or something that really touches your heart, I say go for it and you’ll figure it out.
(Child opening the Star Wars Lego set)
Child 2: It’s the Death Star!
Dad: It is not the Death Star. It can’t be the Death Star. O-M-G. You have all of those characters?