Germany Kent said “Live your life in such a way that you’ll be remembered for your kindness, compassion, fairness, character, benevolence, and a force for good who had much respect for life.” When Nikolas Ritschel was alive this thoughtful, kind, and caring person was a true reflection of this quote.  This continued when he became diagnosed with cancer right before his 18th birthday. Nik met the guidelines to be granted a Make-A-Wish Foundation because he was still 17, yet when he learned anyone ages 18 and over could not be granted a wish he wanted to to take action to help them. Nik was the driving force to start the  Nikolas Ritschel Foundation. It was an honor to talk with Nik’s mom Kelli about Nikolas and this incredible organization.

Because that’s what kindness is. It’s not doing something for someone else because they can’t, but because you can.”         Andrew Iskander

Nikolas Ritschel is the youngest of Kelli’s children. In the spring of his senior year of high school he developed a nagging back pain where sleeping and car rides became painful. In the beginning the medical profession could not find anything wrong, yet with Kelli’s persistence they continued to seek out medical professionals to determine what was going on with Nik. in December Nik was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer where a cancerous tumor was wrapped around his spine. In the midst of this tornado of terrible news the Make-A-Wish foundation rushed Nik quickly through the application process so Nik could be granted a wish while Nik and his mom were going to various children’s hospitals for clinical trials and treatments. At one hospital Nik became friends with Nate, another young person with cancer, and Nik learned that Nate was not eligible for a Make-A-Wish wish because he was 18 years old. This bothered Nik, who was a people person always helping others.  He wanted to do something for Nate, and for other warriors in this age group, fighting cancer.

To change the world it starts with one step.” Dave Matthews

Nik was a spiritual person with great faith. The night before he was to go through a twenty minute procedure he wrote three poems and let people in his life know how much he appreciated them. He had Kelli stop her internet searching for possible treatments so they could spend time together. Nik shared his many thanks for his wonderful mom and told his mom to do something so kids over 17 battling cancer could have a wish granted. Nikolas died during the procedure and it seems Nik, this light for everyone, knew what was going to happen. 

Love won, cancer zero.” Nikolas Ritschel Foundation

Kelli shared since Nik’s death she has immersed herself in giving to others. After his death Nik has continued to be a powerful force in her life, urging her and telling her to begin what they had talked about. Even though Kelli’s grief was great, she knew it was time to start the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation, also called Nik’s Wish, so cancer warriors ages 18 -24, and their loved ones, could experience joy and happiness. Where, for a bit, their cancer could be forgotten while they spend precious time with loved ones laughing and being together.

Some wishes celebrate the completion of treatment. Some are for taking a needed break from treatment to rejuvenate for the continued fight. And some are a last wish to spend the remaining precious time with loved ones.”                                                 Nikolas Ritschel Foundation

Nik’s friend Nate received the first wish. Since the foundation began 316 wishes have been granted. This one employee and multiple volunteers organization make it a sustainable non-profit where a growing family of relationships continue to build bonds of love while granting wishes. Volunteer heart of gold “Wishmakers” work directly with a Wisher and their family to make a wish come true, taking care of all details and arrangements for the wish.  “Wish Angels” bring Nik’s Wish joy to their home state by helping to give back, raise money and awareness. Joe, the first official “Wish Angel,” who chose to make a difference in the lives of others for his Nik’s Wish. Currently Nik’s Wishes are being delivered to Wishers and their families in thirty eight states, yet as the mighty non-profit continues more wishes in more places will be granted.  The cost to grant a wish ranges from $7500 – 10,000 dollars. Kelli shared that many of these young cancer warriors are isolated because their friends have moved on while they battle cancer. Nik’s Wish is a way to love on these kids who are going through so much. For parents grieving the death of their child volunteering with Nik’s Wish is a way to have some comfort and community with others who know all too well their pain. 

It is with honor, and joy, we shine the Kindness Champion Spotlight on the heartwarming Nikolas Ritschel Foundation. Where Nik’s Wishes continue the legacy of Nik Ritschel’s kindness by leaving heart-prints of joy on cancer warriors ages 18-24 going through so much. We thank you Nik, and the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation, for being you and bringing your awesome to the world.

To learn more about this special organization here is their information🌟