2020’s been a year for the books. But with your help, we ended this year on a high note... by literally making your holiday wishes come true.
Inspired by some of the selfless holiday wishes we received through the Holiday Wish Fulfillment Center last year, we decided to use the holidays this year to go all out and fulfill a handful of the most thoughtful wishes submitted by our community.
We were so inspired and overwhelmed by the response from you all this year. Over the last month, you sent us hundreds of thoughtful wishes for others – 300 to be exact, with wishes coming from all over the world!
While we couldn't fulfill every wish we received, we're so excited to share the stories behind the 8 wishes that we fulfilled this year with you. Read on to meet John, Sagar, Pua, Heather, Katie, Shandiin, Audra, and Cindy.
John is the founder of East Side Riders, an organization that empowers and moves the community of Watts forward through bikes. When they learned that kids' screen time had gone up 500% since the pandemic started, East Side Riders started the "Ride With John" program to encourage the families in their community to spend more time outside and ride together.
John wished for safe mobility for his community because he believes it's important to encourage people to get out on two wheels and to feel safe and comfortable while doing it. To fulfill John's wish, we donated 60 helmets to the families in the Ride with John Program. With their new helmets, John and East Side Riders will be able to ensure both kids and parents who are new to riding are comfortable, confident, and safe while cycling together.
Sagar's girlfriend Mandy has been a nurse for 7 years. She currently works in the surgical oncology department at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Sagar describes her as one of the most caring people he knows, always looking out for her friends and family. The pandemic has made Mandy's daily and working life extra difficult, because on top of her non-stop work schedule, she also has to be extremely careful outside of work to make sure she doesn't put her immunocompromised patients at risk.
Sagar wished for Mandy to have a new e-bike so she can upgrade her old set of wheels and commute safely, comfortably, and efficiently to work. To fulfill his wish, we sent Mandy a brand new electric Story Bike and a Thousand riding kit (with an extra surprise for Sagar too). With her new Story Bikes Commuter e-bike, Mandy will be able to safely commute to work at all times of the year and continue to help those in need.
Pua describes her sibling, Ahi, as passionate, compassionate, conscientious, and a great friend. Earlier this year, Ahi – a restaurant worker and a parent – lost their job due to the pandemic, like many others. This would be hard for anyone, but Ahi losing their job and health insurance was an especially huge blow, because they finally had the opportunity to become exactly who they are.
As a non-binary trans person, it was personally important for Ahi to be able to go through with their gender confirmation surgery as scheduled. With their surgery behind them, Ahi can live authentically and focus on being a more present parent and, as Pua describes them, the life of the party in a family of introverts.
Pua's wish was that Ahi could spend the holidays celebrating their truest self and not worrying about medical debt or putting presents under the tree this year. To fulfill Pua's wish, we funded Ahi's medical recovery period. With their medical costs taken care of, Ahi can now focus on recovering from surgery, spending time with their family, and being their authentic self.
Heather's neighbor, Hunter, is an 88-year-old widow and war veteran who loves to spend time sitting on his porch and chatting with people walking by. This year, the pandemic and colder temperatures have made it more difficult for Hunter to spend time with his community. With winter on the way, Heather wished for an outdoor rocking chair for Hunter to sit in so he can comfortably sit outside and greet his neighbors.
To fulfill Heather's wish, we sent Hunter a new rocking chair, an outdoor space heater, and a cozy blanket so he can comfortably chat with his neighbors through the winter. We also sent him an easy-to-use Grandpad tablet so he can connect virtually with his loved ones. Now nothing can hold Hunter back from staying connected with his neighbors, his family, and his friends.
Katie's friend Dusty is a beloved member of her community and a favorite bike mechanic at her neighborhood Conte's Bike Shop in Washington, D.C. Dusty is passionate about not only helping thousands (yes, thousands!) of people in his community with their bikes, but also about making cycling more accessible to everyone, everywhere. A few years ago, Dusty was involved in a hit and run crash with a car while he was riding his bike. After being in a coma for 18 hours, Dusty woke up in the hospital and was faced with pricey medical bills for his treatment.
Katie's wish was for Dusty to be free of the medical debt from his accident. To fulfill her wish, we paid off the rest of Dusty's bills and sent him a new Thousand cycling kit. With his bills paid and new gear to keep him safe on the road, Dusty can focus on bringing joy to others through bikes.
Shandiin's dad Johnnie built their house in Navajo Nation by hand over several years, gathering supplies; harvesting and drying wood; and doing all of the plumbing and electric work. He's been dealing with leaks for years, fixing them by hand. Health issues and the pandemic have made it more difficult for Johnnie to fix the house by himself or to get assistance from family.
To help fulfill Shandiin's wish for her dad's house to have a new roof, we sent Johnnie a Thousand Roofing Grant to purchase supplies and labor to make his roof leak-proof.
Audra describes her husband Jeancarlo was one of the most goodhearted and hardworking people she has ever met. He immigrated to New York from Mexico 15 years ago, first working in restaurant kitchens as a dishwasher. Today, he is the lead cook at the very restaurant where Audra and Jeancarlo met and fell in love. Even though he and Audra both lost their jobs due to the pandemic, Jeancarlo doesn't want to give up on his dream of attending culinary school and becoming a chef.
To help fulfill Audra's wish, we gave Jeancarlo a Thousand Culinary Grant to help him gain the education and skills he needs to achieve his culinary dreams.
Cindy is an art teacher in Illinois, helping students nurture and express their creativity even during remote learning. Cindy had to use her own funds to provide art supplies for her students to send home at the beginning of the year. We sent oil pastel sets to her 5th grade students to help fulfill her wish to make their last year of art class at her school a little more special.