How do Make-A-Wish wishes come true?

60 Minutes goes to Arkansas to meet some of the people behind Make-A-Wish, the popular organization that grants the wishes of seriously-ill children

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Kaden Erickson
CBS News

Wishes can come true because of people like Kendra Street. She is one of the volunteers and miracle workers behind Make-A-Wish -- the popular organization that grants the wishes of seriously-ill children.

In towns across America, they raise the money and the spirits of sick kids and their families through their heartfelt efforts. Bill Whitaker goes to Arkansas to meet these people and the children they help on the next edition of 60 Minutes Sunday, October 18 7:30 p.m. ET.

Street knows all too well what it's like to have a wish granted. When she was diagnosed with cancer a decade ago, Make-A-Wish helped her through her ordeal by arranging for her to meet her favorite team, the Atlanta Braves. The experience was so terrific, she felt the only way to say thank you was to become a Make-A-Wish volunteer herself. With her cancer now in remission, she is on the giving side and says the giving part is even more rewarding. "Not to underestimate what my wish was for me, but if I had to sacrifice having my wish to be able to give it to someone else, I would definitely be willing to give it to someone else," she tells Whitaker. "You get to give that joy. You get to pass it on to someone else."

60 Minutes cameras capture that joy in the story of 12-year-old Kaden Erickson. From the moment volunteers interview Kaden about his wish to go to Australia to his surprise that it's been granted, 60 Minutes documents the efforts of an entire community who raise the funds to make the trip a dream come true for the young boy, who suffers from a deadly form of leukemia. For over a year, 60 Minutes follows Kaden from hospital stays to the fulfillment of that wish nearly 10,000 miles away on another continent.

Funds are raised in communities in several ways, including old-fashioned, shoe-leather drives in which volunteers take to the streets and shake cans for donations. As a teacher, Street harnessed her school's students' enthusiasm to help make Erickson's wish come true. "Once they saw the power of a wish granted here, our kids wanted to help give that to someone else," says Street. "And we're a tiny, tiny school that's raised... $15,000. That's incredible. It plays a huge part of who our kids grow up to be. "

60 Minutes also follows Gavin Grubbs, another "wish kid" whose wish was to meet racecar driver Joey Logano at the Daytona 500 five years ago. Not only has he become a big supporter of Make-A-Wish and its annual fundraiser, he's still in close touch with Logano. Grubbs pitches in despite his muscular dystrophy. "It feels good to help other kids," he tells Whitaker.