Make A Wish
Two Mountain Brook locals take the Make-A-Wish Alabama mission to heart

By Erin-Slay-Wilson  

Community involvement and investment is the bedrock of Southern culture. We pitch in, show up, and reach out to those around us in our neighborhoods, schools, and organizations to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.  

For Make-A-Wish Alabama, we serve communities across the state by creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Alabama communities pitch in, volunteer, and raise funds year-round for our mission, ensuring that we can grant the wish of every eligible child in our state.  

Birmingham, our state’s largest metro area, is home to dozens of small, tight-knit communities that rally around common interests and shared goals. Mountain Brook, with its long history of philanthropy and civic closeness, is no different. We have granted several wishes within the Mountain Brook community and look to volunteer leaders like Bernie Brannan and Hall Eady to move our mission forward in the state.  

Hall Eady, a Mountain Brook business leader and attorney for Bradley, Arant, Boult and Cummings, serves on our Board of Directors and chairs the Development Committee. Hall cites learning individual stories about Make-A-Wish Alabama families and their appreciation for their wish experiences as what first drew him to our mission.  

Hall has two daughters and they inspire him to serve as a consistent advocate for our wish-kids in his community and beyond. In his words, “Birmingham, including the Mountain Brook community, is the largest supporter and recipient of wishes from Make-A-Wish Alabama. I would like to see more individuals and businesses in our immediate area support this cause so that no children wait longer than is absolutely necessary for the granting of their one, true wish.” 

Bernie Brannan, resident of Mountain Brook and partner at Gaines Gault Hendrix PC, has served on our Birmingham Regional Advisory Council and hiked in our Trailblaze Challenge twice. Bernie is currently training for the 2020 Challenge and takes our mission in stride, literally, by hiking 26.3 miles each year and fundraising within his community to help grant more wishes.  

“I always knew about Make-A-Wish, but I did not become involved in the organization until I participated in the 2018 Trailblaze Challenge,” said Bernie. “Through that experience, I got to meet actual wish-kids and their families. I saw first-hand how granting wishes impacted them and their treatment. After that, I was hooked.” 

When considering the impact of the Mountain Brook community on our mission, we are also humbled by the dozens of donors and supporters who give of their talent and treasure to make our mission possible. While our chapter covers the entire state, leaders from Mountain Brook ensure our success each day through their dedication to our mission and strategic vision for our future.  

“Mountain Brook is second to none in its support for charities,” said Hall. “You cannot drive through any neighborhood without seeing signs for upcoming charity events. I think of examples of kids that have had wishes granted in our community and I am inspired to give all I can to help similar children and their families make it through the darkest of days and be encouraged to continue the fight.” 

“My favorite thing about Mountain Brook is the sense of community, and I think that comes from its residents’ philanthropy and willingness to participate,” said Bernie. “When you see your neighbors rally around a cause or purpose, it encourages you to do the same.” 

Critical illnesses do not discriminate based on income, race, location, or age. We work with children aged 2.5 to 18 years old who are fighting unimaginable battles. Our mission seeks to give these children the chance to be children again. Whether you are a parent with children who have experienced good health, a young adult with connections to friends who experienced a critical illnesses, a parent who had a child battle a critical illness, or a community member with compassion for those facing these situations, you can help grant these life-changing wishes.  

Our mission is wide reaching and inspiring but takes serious work and investment. We would love to further engage the Mountain Brook community to support us in tangible ways. As Bernie said: “Any help makes a difference, whether it be through financial support, frequent flyer miles, or your time. Your contribution will matter.” 

Volunteer wish-granters come alongside families and wish-children to serve as a resource to them during their wish-journey. Volunteers might meet wish children to discuss what their one, true wish will be, or plan a wish-celebration once their wish is scheduled. Our volunteers regularly share extremely tender and touching stories with us about connections and friendships made through their volunteer work. We have wish-granters who attend graduations, weddings, birthday parties, and other celebrations for our wish-children after they get well. We also see the incredible compassion of these volunteers at hospital visits and, sometimes, funerals of wish-children who lose their battles against their illnesses.  

Our supporters financially contribute to our mission, whether through direct donation or in-kind service. We complete wishes for above-ground pools, playsets, treehouses, carports, and more that require in-kind help from contractors, plumbers, electricians, and other service professionals.  

Our vision is to grant the wish of every eligible child in our state. We want to empower community members to tell our story and share our mission with families who may qualify for a wish. Without voices in diverse communities, our mission can only travel so far.  

Make-A-Wish Alabama needs your help. Anyone can help make wishes come true through their unique skillset and resources. Partner with us as a company, volunteer with us as a wish granter, join our council or board, or help plan an event! Join us as we seek to grant life-changing wishes for these deserving children. Visit our website ( or set up an interest meeting ( to get started on your journey with Make-A-Wish today.  

For more from our Giving Tree section, click here.

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