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Bruce & Kelly's Story

May 2016
Volunteers Bruce & Kelly City: Vermillion

About Bruce & Kelly:
Bruce – Director of Sports Medicine at the University of South Dakota.
Kelly – Elementary PE teacher in Vermillion, coaches high school cross country and track. Also coaches wheelchair basketball.
We are both involved with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA), Kelly coaching and Bruce is on the Board of Directors. We have passion for all sports.

Your connection with Make-A-Wish®? Our connection to Make-A-Wish South Dakota began when our youngest son Dylan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 10 months and
Make-A-Wish began talking with us. Dylan received his wish less than two years later (Walt Disney World) in the summer of 1997.

What made you want to start volunteering for Make-A-Wish?
Smiles…the way Make-A-Wish brought smiles back into our families’ lives.  We wanted to give back to an organization that could produce those kind of results!

How long have you been a volunteers? In 1998 our family shot a video for Make-A-Wish and shortly after that began training as volunteers.

Why do you volunteer for Make-A-Wish? It started as a family project where we wanted to teach our children to give back to our community.  It has grown into a passion for helping people that are like us, those facing tremendous odds and needing a ‘lift’. Helping provide a reason to smile.

What is the best part of being involved with Make-A-Wish? There can be no greater gift than helping a child and by extension the family.  We know firsthand what it’s like to face horrible medical odds and in the midst of that receive the gift of a wish! Have we mentioned smiles?

Tell us about a memorable wish experience: The most memorable wish would be Dylan’s trip. It is magical what Make-A-Wish is able to accomplish. When it comes to our wish granting, how do you pick one? That’s like asking which of your children do you love the most? An impossible task…

If you could encourage someone who is thinking about volunteering for Make-A-Wish, what would you tell them? Other organizations want your money or your time. Make-A-Wish will give you back more than you can ever give to them. As you help Make-A-Wish children and their families you are given back your heart and your smile, you receive way more than you give!

What would your one true wish be?
In our video of 1998 I was asked this same question: ‘what would your wish be?’ My response then was that I hoped to see our wish child Dylan someday be able to grant a wish. Dylan was almost four at that time. Shortly after his 20th birthday he was our featured speaker at the Vermillion/Yankton Dinner Dance and Auction where we have raised funds for Make-A-Wish. The standing ovation he received after his talk took my breath away and I realized my wish had been granted.

For more information about volunteer opportunities in your area, please contact Kerry Pollema at 605.335.8000 or

As you help Make-A-Wish children and their families you are given back your heart and your smile, you receive way more than you give! ”

— Wish Granters Bruce & Kelly


Kerry Pollema
Volunteer & Outreach Director
1400 West 17th Street 
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Phone: 605.335.8000 
Fax: 605.335.8002 

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Make-A-Wish® South Dakota
1400 West 17th Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(605) 335-8000
Toll Free (800) 640-9198
Make-A-Wish® South Dakota, Black Hills Office
14 Saint Joseph St. Suite 302
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 791-4500
Toll Free (800) 640-9198