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FHS teens donate to Make-A-Wish foundation

The Farragut High School Y-Teens recently presented a check for $2,500 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“We have twelve wishes we’re working on right now in the Knoxville area, everything from Hawaii to a playground,” said Sandy Matheson, director of development with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “We just got a new referral from Oneida,” she added. “This will go to help sponsor a wish for a child. We grant wishes to children up to the age of 18 with life-threatening illnesses. We were founded in 1980 with over 70 [chapters] nationally.”

Make-A-Wish has been receiving more requests than it has money for, Matheson said

She was at the home of Farragut resident Ken Shull, Make-A-Wish board member, in order to receive a contribution from the Farragut High School Y-Teens.

Shull’s stepdaughter, Camden Kitchin, is this year’s Y-Teens president. She and Carolyn Levy, Y-Teens vice-president, presented the check to Matheson.

Make-A-Wish has been a part of Shull’s life for years. Both he and his wife, Nancy, along with daughters, Camden and Meghan, have all participated in send-off parties for children receiving wishes. “It’s contagious,” Nancy said.

“I’ve helped Ken do a few,” Camden said. “I helped at the gala last year. It’s like a Make-A-Wish ball.” She has helped put up balloons and take pictures for send-off parties. “I think all the ones I helped with were Disney World,” she said, adding that one little girl wanted to meet Cinderella, but said her daddy wasn’t allowed to kiss the fairytale princess.

Shull became involved with Make-A-Wish when he was living in Washington, DC and working for the FBI.

“One of the more interesting wishes for me, was when we had a little boy who wanted to be President of the United States,” Shull said. “His view of what a President did was a little skewed. He thought the President inspected FBI agents. Nobdoy inspects FBI agents. I had friends who were willing to stand at attention in the hallway of the FBI.”

The local East Tennessee chapter, which opened in 1988, covers 36 counties from Chattanooga to Bristol, Matheson said.

“We’ve granted over eight-hundred wishes. Our most common wish is to Disney World,” Shull said.

She said either a parent or physician makes a referral, then two Wish volunteers go to the home and help with necessary paperwork.

“When we first make the initial visit, we take gifts to the child and siblings. They’re given a scrapbook that shows the child their wish fully planned.”

To find out more about becoming involved, call Matheson at 865-909-9474, or visit the Web site at


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