Most children who win a special day from the Make-A-Wish Foundation use the lucky occasion to meet celebrities or travel to far-flung destinations — Disney World is the most popular pick. Not little Amelia Meyer. The 8-year-old girl from Missouri is rewriting the playbook for Make-A-Wish days in a totally refreshing way that inspired many in her community and throughout her state. Amelia, who’s been fighting brain cancer, asked to spend her special day by taking care of the world and picking up trash in parks and other public spaces in and around Kansas City. Many might be surprised by Amelia’s unusually selfless choice, but not her parents and friends. “I know some kids might want to go to Disney World and stuff, or meet famous people,” her friend Samantha Asquith said, “but I really feel like Amelia picked the right wish.”
And so did many others. As word spread of her wish, people lined up to join the cause last Saturday and several different groups spanned out around the Kansas City area to clean up trash. Kansas City Mayor Sly James proclaimed it “Take Care of the World Day” in Amelia’s honor, thanked her “for being such a really neat kid” and presented her with a challenge coin (a staid custom among politicians).
— Mayor Sly James (@MayorSlyJames) February 27, 2016
The movement even spread to other cities in Missouri. Amelia has “given her love for the outdoors, parks and the Earth,” according to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. After she receives treatment for her cancer, she and her grandmother often leave the doctor’s office and go to parks to walk and pick up litter — an example the foundation hopes will be followed by others. “We hope that others throughout the state of Missouri and beyond will be inspired by Amelia’s wish and join in cleanup efforts in their own communities,” the Make-A-Wish Foundation said in a statement. As for Amelia, she was just excited to “get to pick up trash.” And her parents were moved by the outpouring of gratitude Amelia’s wish inspired. “We’re so touched by what you all have done for our little girl,” Jill Meyer, Amelia’s mom reportedly told people who helped with the cleanup effort on Saturday. “It brings her such a smile.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.