About the Fund
Katharine’s Wish is a promise kept by siblings Katie and Spencer Rhoten of Eau Claire, WI. In January of 2008, Katie was vacationing with her family at Disney World when she was rushed by ambulance to the ICU at Children’s Hospital in Orlando, FL. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and mere hours from going into a coma. There were lots of IV’s, insulin shots, and finger pokes to stabilize Katie’s blood sugar levels, along with a crash course in learning how to manage a chronic, and potentially life-threatening, disease.
However, the pain of this scary experience was lessened because each time Katie had a poke or procedure, she was given a stuffed animal or toy from hospital staff to comfort and distract her. Katie and Spencer, who were only nine and four years old at the time, made a pact to help other children who were sick and scared. Since 2008, Katharine’s Wish has donated over $250,000 in new toys and grants to hospitals and clinics providing pediatric care in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Katharine’s Wish has received numerous distinctions, including being named a Daily Point of Light Honoree, recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Distinguished Finalist – Prudential Spirit of Community Award, American Red Cross “Youth Samaritan” Real Heroes Award, and Youth Philanthropist of the Year.