Andalusia native one of 24 named Women Who Shaped the State in 2020

Published 4:21 pm Friday, January 29, 2021

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For more than 40 years, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has been fulfilling wishes of children diagnosed with a critical illness. But now one member among the 59 chapters is being honored for her extraordinary work.

For 5 years, Valerie Cunningham has made wishes come true for children across the state of Alabama.

“To be able to say that my work helps grant wishes and brings joy to children with critical illnesses, that alone is enough,” Valerie Cunningham, vice president of advancement for Make-A-Wish Alabama said.

Now Cunningham is being honored for making a difference. As she was named one of the Women Who Shape the State in 2020.

“I’ve told several people that it doesn’t seem right that I get to be recognized for doing something that I love so much and have so much fun doing but I’m still really excited,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham was chosen along with 24 other women who all share one common goal, giving back to their communities.

“There are so many deserving women, so many amazing women who deserve recognition in Alabama. So it’s really humbling but it also feels pretty amazing for the work that I’ve been doing to have been noticed and be recognized,” Cunningham said.

An Andalusia native, Valerie enjoys working in her home state.

“To grant wishes in Covington County or Henry County, that’s my home, I grew up watching WTVY. So it’s especially exciting to me to be able to come back into the community where iI grew up and learned how to drive and all of those things, to be able to then do my work and pour my passion into not only the state but the community that helped raise me,” Cunningham said.

Make-A-Wish Alabama is still not granting travel wishes due to Covid-19 but are finding other ways to fulfill a child’s wish. They will also celebrate World Wish Day on April 29th, that’s the annual day of recognition and celebration of the first wish.