siani-williams_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida is observing World Wish Day, a global celebration of wish granting, by fulfilling a 5-year-old North Lauderdale girl’s wish to go to the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas.

Siani Williams’ wish will be among those granted on World Wish Day, Friday, in 36 countries served by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The observance started when 7-year-old Chris Greicius’ wish to be a police officer was granted in Phoenix by volunteers from several law-enforcement agencies on April 29, 1980.

Siani, who is battling sickle cell anemia, asked to go to Atlantis because she loves the beach and tropical weather, according to a statement from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

She and her family flew to the Bahamas on Monday and will return Friday. Her schedule has her swimming with dolphins, riding the water slides, relaxing on the beach and going through an underground tunnel. She also has access to the resort’s children’s activities, including a video arcade and an arts and craft room.

“Granting children’s wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a rallying point for people around the globe,” said Norman Wedderburn, president/CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. “It unifies everyone in a common cause: to bring hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions.”

“We want our communities to join in that spirit by celebrating Siani’s wish on World Wish Day,” Wedderburn said.

Wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation typically fall into one of four categories: To Be (e.g., a ballerina, a firefighter), To Meet (e.g., a favorite celebrity or athlete), To Have (e.g., a computer, a playhouse), or To Go (e.g., to a theme park, to Hawaii). In 2010, the foundation granted the wishes of more than 20,000 children worldwide – more than 13,500 of those in the United States, the statement said.

The Southern Florida chapter said it grants a wish every 16 hours and has granted more than 7,500 wishes since its inception 27 years ago. The average cost of a wish is $5,000 and the foundation relies on fundraisers, corporate support and donations from the public.

The public can become involved by referring a child, making a donation, giving unused airline frequent flier miles or simply spreading the word about the foundation.

“World Wish Day recognizes the global appeal of our mission and making life better for seriously ill children by granting their fondest wishes,” Wedderburn said. “People can help wishes come true for other children like Siani in Southern Florida every day and it’s easier than they think.”

To learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, call 954-967-9474 (WISH) or visit