2015 Wish Granted #1


In the fall of 2015, AIGA Pittsburgh and Wall-to-Wall Studios hosted our first ever GUTS Pittsburgh at Penn Brewery. We set out with the idea that we as designers, could bring other creative people together with a shared goal: Giving back to the community that has given us so much. A live pumpkin carving competition provided us with a way to do something fun, seasonal and creative. With your support, we raised $6,573 for Make-A-Wish kids in our area. We set out with the hopes of being able to grant the wish of a child in our area. We met our goal — and then exceeded it. GUTS Pittsburgh granted two wishes last year, and we’re getting ready to carve again this Fall. Read about our first Wish-Kid, 5 year old Ryder, and his family’s trip to Orlando this past Spring.

Not even heart disease can stop 5-year old Ryder from Pittsburgh, PA, from enjoying his favorite activities. One might find this young wish child watching his favorite cartoons and animated-films. Even those dealing with his illness can make life difficult, singing and dancing along to songs his favorite songs from the movies always puts a smile on his face. When me met with Make-A-Wish® volunteers, he was sure that he wanted to visit a popular Orlando-based theme park.

Once he had made his decision, Ryder could barely wait to start his adventure, even dreaming about the trip. This spring, he and his family had traveled to Florida, where they stayed at Give Kids the World Village, a special place for kids with unique medical needs. The Village is filled with imaginative structures — giant mushrooms, oversized bananas, zoo animals and trains. There is even an ice cream palace and gingerbread restaurant serving up many of his favorite treats.

He had not even entered the park and it already felt like paradise. Ryder was free to run where his heart desired. The entire park was open and a special Make-A-Wish button allowed him and his family special privileges, such as access to different lines for rides and the chance to spend time with characters that roamed the park. Though not yet big enough for most of the attractions, Ryder made the most of his time by meeting some of his favorite characters. He also enjoyed a special breakfast in the park. Much to Ryders’s delight, some of his favorite characters made an appearance, stopping to to talk to Ryder and bestowing on him a “wishing sword.” On the flight home, he fondly recounted the best moments of the trip and fell asleep still grinning from ear to ear.

GUTS Pittsburgh returns to Penn Brewery, Saturday, October 15 and we need your help to pull it off. How can you get involved? Register to carve as an individual or as a team. We’re looking for sponsors, donations and volunteers for the day of the event. Visit gutspittsburgh.com to learn more about granting wishes in our community.