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COVID-19 pandemic impacts Make-A-Wish granting

North Carolina's "Wish Kid" will host this year's Virtual Wish Ball.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kierra Sunris, a bubbly 16-year-old, is getting ready to emcee this year's virtual Make-A-Wish Ball

 "Favorite thing about Make-A-Wish is the people," Sunris told WCNC Charlotte's, Sarah French. "I just love the community so so much." 

Sunris is a wish kid, and she connected right away with French after reading about one of her passions on Twitter.

"You're a Broadway enthusiast," Sunris asked French. 

French replied, "Oh I love Broadway shows. Do you like Broadway shows?"

Sunris said, "Yeah, that was actually my wish! I went to see Hamilton, the Lion King and Wicked all up in New York!"  

But wishes like this are a thing of the past, at least for now.

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Meredith Morris, who's in charge of granting wishes, said, "It's been just an unprecedented year as it has been for the entire world."

"We really had to reinvent how we were granting wishes because travel just wasn't an option and prior to COVID 70% of our wishes were travel-related," she said. 

French asked, "So how is that conversation going when you do have to talk to a family and say I think we have to come up with a new wish."

Morris replied, "It's hard, our children are medically sensitive, and we want to make sure we are taking that into consideration before we do anything with travel. So right now, we're trying to reinvent those wishes and reimagine them." 

Those travel wishes now turning into backyard playsets, a new golf cart, shopping sprees and even a puppy. 

And with this year's virtual Wish Ball, the non-profit is hoping more people will join to help the cause.

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Chris Webber, who's planning the event, said, "This is the first-ever virtual gala that we are doing. The unique thing about these virtual events is that anybody can participate, there's no registration fee, there's no ticketing fee, you can just visit our website and join right from your device."

And who better to join you in all the festivities, than the Make-A-Wish kid who dreams of being an actress. 

French wrapped the interview telling Sunris, "You're going to be the host of the ball, and I think you're going to do a fabulous job."

Click here to join the Virtual Wish Ball on Friday, Feb. 26 from 6:30 - 9 p.m. 

Click here for more info on Make-A-Wish Central & Western North Carolina