Higgs Fletcher & Mack, a San Diego-based, full-service law firm for over 75 years, announced recently that partner and employment law and litigation attorney Jim Peterson was named Chairperson of Make-A-Wish (MAW) San Diego.
A board member since 2013 and previously Vice Chair, Peterson aims to increase the organization’s outreach program to all eligible “wish kids” and further fundraising efforts to ensure the local chapter can sustain its unprecedented growth in the number of wishes granted in the coming year.
“Jim has a long history with the organization and given his extensive involvement and professional expertise, it’s no surprise that they elected him chair,” said Higgs Fletcher & Mack’s Executive Director Henry Angelino. “We’re incredibly proud of Jim for attaining this level of leadership. He’s a well-respected attorney and it’s evident that he’s viewed in the same manner at Make-A-Wish.”
Peterson was first introduced to the organization in 2011 when his then 16-year-old daughter, Tina, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. During her inpatient chemotherapy treatments at Rady Children’s’ Hospital, the family was introduced to MAW and ultimately, Tina’s wish to go to the Grammy’s was granted. At the time of her diagnosis, Tina was a budding singer and musical theater actress, but following her treatment, she lost some of her voice and confidence as a performer. MAW embraced Tina as an ambassador for the organization and invited her to perform the National Anthem at the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl and a MAW event at a San Diego Padres game in 2012. She has also performed at the Humphrey’s stage at some MAW fundraisers. Those experiences motivated her to return to performing and served as the catalyst to heal her and her family.
Now, Tina is a healthy senior at San Diego State University seeking a degree in marketing. She has spent many hours as a volunteer intern with MAW. The Peterson family joyously celebrated Tina’s five years of remission on Oct. 1. Peterson’s wife, Kim, is a founding member of the chapter’s W.I.S.H. circle, a group of women who hold events, fundraisers and sponsor wishes. In addition, Peterson’s daughters, Danielle and Whitney, and son-in-law, Clark, are involved as wish granters and volunteers for the organization.
“This organization is very near and dear to me and my family, and we truly believe that MAW was instrumental in helping Tina and our family cope with her illness. It’s with great pleasure that I get to serve as chair and focus on increasing awareness for MAW San Diego,” shared Peterson. “Last year, we increased our outreach to connect with more than 70 percent of those eligible for a wish (children with life-threatening illness), and increased the number of wishes granted from 175 to 225. I want to continue our efforts and spread the word about the impact MAW has on healing kids and their families struck by a health tragedy. I’m also looking forward to growing our donor base and increasing our fundraising efforts.”