BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington couple says a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World 15 years ago is still impacting their lives.
Tyler Kelley was diagnosed with lupus at 12-years-old. He was in middle school in Indianapolis and always dreamed of going to Disney World.
He says his dream wouldn't have become a reality without Make-A-Wish.
"I had never known anyone to ever go to Disney World," Kelley said. "I come from a low-income background, first-generation college student. This kind of felt like a dream come true."
Even though the trip was 15 years ago, he says the wish means more now than it did then.
"I want to start a community center at one point, and it all started when I got to Make-A-Wish when I was 14 years old," Kelley said. "It encouraged me to dream big, never give up on my dreams. It motivated me to give back and serve others like I was served and it really just inspired me as a person and keeps me going when I think about a rough period of my life."
He and his wife, Justus, have a passion to continue building inclusive societies.
Justus, who works for the Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana Chapter, said it's something talked about every day in the local chapter.
In August, the chapter introduced a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative.
"It's really helping us to grow in asking those questions like where can we diversify, how can we be intentional about recruiting diverse wish kids, recruiting diverse stakeholders to join our organization," Justus said.
Tyler said this will give more children and families hope in a chaotic time.
"This gives everyone an opportunity to come together, to love one another, and to move forward in peace and unity," Tyler said.