Portland, Or. The heroes came in all shapes and sizes at the Walk-For-Wishes. The fundraiser drew more than 1,400 people to the Oregon Zoo on April 16th and raised $128,000 to help make wishes come true for local children battling a life-threatening medical condition. Evelyn Nedich and her sister, wish child Susie Nedich, hung out on the Walk For Wishes stage with wish child Ashlynn Widney and her sister Kylie Widney.

Make-A-Wish® Oregon encouraged people to dress up and they did. Behind the masks and under the flowing capes were parents, neighbors, teachers, nurses, classmates, siblings, friends, advocates.

Make-A-Wish® Oregon encouraged people to dress up and they did. Behind the masks and under the flowing capes were parents, neighbors, teachers, nurses, classmates, siblings, friends, advocates.

Here’s a video about the event:

Alaska Airlines Captain Rick Ackman watches on as wish child Nicholas Loring takes a test flight in the Alaska Airlines booth.

Alaska Airlines Captain Rick Ackman watches as wish child Nicholas Loring takes a test flight in the Alaska Airlines booth.

Members of Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel's Walk For Wishes team raised $2,610 to support local wish kids.

Members of Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel’s Walk For Wishes team raised $2,610 to support local wish kids.

“I met an incredible wish kid who dressed up like a doctor,” said volunteer wish granter and event emcee Kaitlyn Bolduc. “He told me that if he could dress up like every doctor who helped him, he would, because they are all his heroes.”

Wish child Cason Vandehey and Make-A-Wish Oregon CEO Laila Cook

Wish child Cason Vandehey and Make-A-Wish Oregon CEO Laila Cook

“I like that there are people that devote their time so kids can experience joy through a wish,” said 13-year-old Ella, whose wish to go on a cruise came true in 2014. She and her friends volunteered at the event by serving as course directors. “It was really cool seeing everyone walk by and being pumped.”

Ella was one of 65 wish kids who signed up to participate in Walk For Wishes. They were honored with a special ceremony where they each received a Wish Hero Medal. Cyndy LeDoux’s daughter Blue had her wish to be in a music video granted in 2014. “It just brightens my heart to see her amazing strength honored,” said LeDoux. “All of those wish kids are just an inspiration and their stories should all be heard.”

For many, seeing the wish kids on stage during the opening ceremony and hearing about their wishes was the highlight of the morning. Maegan Vidal, the physician outreach liaison for Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, said she was particularly proud to be able to wear her purple cape and star-studded sunglasses to help celebrate the wish heroes who fight every day to defeat the biggest villain of all – a life-threatening medical condition. Her team, Randall Children’s Superheroes, was 78 members strong and raised $2,610 to support local wish kids. “I truly believe in the healing power wishes have on children and their families,” said Vidal. “Children are amazingly resilient at fighting terrible conditions, but wishes give them hope, adventure and memories that take them away from their illness and into an experience they have always wanted.”

Of course, a family-friendly walk wouldn’t be complete without face painting, ice cream, snacks and games. “Seeing everyone come together to support local kids in our community was a special feeling,” said Bolduc. “It’s a powerful moment to be a part of.”

From Make-A-Wish:

Thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish®Oregon mission to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions living in Oregon and Clark County, Washington. With YOUR help, we hope to grant more than 200 wishes each year.

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