ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Kelli Ritschel-Boehle, creator of the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation which grants “Nik’s Wish” to young cancer patients, has been named a “CNN Hero” by the Cable News Network.
“Nik’s Wish” is similar to those made possible by the “Make-A-Wish Foundation,” but allows eligibility for older teens and adults, between 18 and 24.
Ritschel’s son, Nikolas, was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, just before his 18th birthday, and was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which has a cutoff age for eligibility at 17. He passed away in 2012.
CNN highlighted Ritschel and two Nik’s Wish recipients. She said she hoped the national exposure would mean the foundation could grant more “wishes.”
“For me personally… I just don’t know what Nik has in store for me next. It’s been a true blessing and an honor to carry his torch and the seed he planted and to be able to continue to help it grow,” Ritschel told Eyewitness News. “And I hope I can continue to do that. I want to help bring joy to these families as long as there’s cancer to fight.”
The foundation has granted more than 300 wishes in 30 states.