In this car convo…
- 2:17 - Who was Nik?
- 5:43 - Scott gets goosebumps
- 10:13 - How you can help
- 18:18 - How to make a wish
- 20:02 - Breaking records granting wishes!
We're excited to share a special Kunes Car Convo. Scott Wolf, our General Manager at Kunes GMC in Belvidere, IL, had the pleasure of chatting with an amazing guest, Kelli Ritschel Boehle.
She's not just a CNN Hero but also the founder of the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation, also known as Nik’s Wish, all while they cruised in the 2024 GMC Yukon XL AT4.
Let’s dive into their heartwarming chat!
A Fancy Ride with a Purpose: The 2024 GMC Yukon XL AT4
First off, Kelli was totally wowed by the Yukon XL AT4, saying it was “awesome” and super spacious—like you could live in it! And let’s be honest, who wouldn't love all those cool electronics and riding in style?
What’s Nik’s Wish All About?
Kelli explained that Nik’s Wish is like Make A Wish, but for young adults aged 18-24 battling cancer. These brave souls are often caught in a tough spot, having outgrown other programs, and that’s where Nik's Wish steps in to bring a little joy and hope into their lives.
The Story of Nik and the Birth of a Foundation
Nik, Kelli's son, was a determined young man. His own experience with having a wish granted made him realize the importance of looking forward to the future, despite battling cancer. When Nik learned about his friend Nate missing out on Make A Wish because of age, he knew something had to be done. This injustice stayed with Nik and eventually inspired the creation of Nik’s Wish.
The Song That Changed Everything
A Dave Matthews Band song, with lyrics about taking that first step to change the world, pushed Nik to ask his mom to help fulfill his friend's wish. Sadly, Nik passed away the next day after an operation, but his last wish continued to inspire Kelli to start the foundation.
The Impact of Nik’s Wish
Since its inception, Nik’s Wish has delivered about 315 wishes, from trips to Disney and Hawaii to custom-built gaming computers. Kelli's favorite wish is always the next one, but each wish holds a special place in her heart, providing joy and a break from the relentless fight against cancer.
The Miracle Wish of Abby
Kelli recounted the touching story of Abby, who couldn't fly to Hawaii due to the pain from her cancer. Instead, her wish was fulfilled with an RV trip to Montana, which miraculously was a pain-free experience for her.
How to Get Involved with Nik’s Wish
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Nik’s Wish. Whether it's helping with wishes, organizing events, or offering long-term support, there's a place for everyone. Donations are also crucial and greatly appreciated.
Fun Events and How They Honor Nik’s Legacy
Nik’s Wish hosts several events, like Nik’s Home Run and the Shamrock Beer Run. They also do a unique fundraiser selling pork butts during Memorial Day. And let’s not forget the Golf for Joy event! These fundraisers are infused with fun, honoring Nik's spirit.
Kelli’s CNN Hero Experience
Being featured on CNN was an incredible, albeit nerve-wracking, experience for Kelli. Despite a last-minute change due to the Maui fires, the segment successfully captured the essence of Nik’s Wish.
The Goal and Heart of Nik’s Wish
With a record-breaking 16 wishes granted in October 2023, Nik’s Wish is always ready to make dreams come true for these young adults. Kelli reminds us that sometimes the things we take for granted, like navigating an airport, can be a brand new experience for the wish recipients.
Final Thoughts While Riding in Comfort
As their journey in the Yukon XL AT4 ended, Kelli reflected on the importance of creating happy memories, not just for the patients, but for their families too. Nik’s Wish is about cherishing life and spreading joy, one wish at a time.
Want to Know More or Help Out?
To get involved or make a donation, head over to Nikolas Ritschel Foundation. Your support could make a world of difference for these courageous young adults and their families.
Hop in for more heartwarming stories and car convos right here at Kunes Auto Group, where we don’t just talk about cars—we're all about driving positive changes in our community. See you on the road, and remember, every wish counts!