Wishes make life better for kids with critical illnesses.
In a 2018 study conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a team of researchers discovered the transformational power of wishes. Wishes can provide physical and emotional benefits that give sick children a higher chance of survival. When wishes are granted, a child replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope. Wishes can help kids get better over time, decrease emergency room visits and reduce healthcare spending.
Wishes don’t happen overnight. Dedicated staff, volunteers, donors and supporters work for weeks and sometimes months to create life-changing wish experiences. “It takes a lot of people and a lot of data — 200 terabytes (TB) — to make wishes come true,” said Bipin Jayaraj, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Make-A-Wish America. “Our challenge was keeping data available and managing it in the cloud.”
Keeping data available was challenging because backup and recovery were unreliable. “Data is critical to our mission of granting wishes. Sometimes wishplanning decisions must be made quickly, but if data is unavailable, we may not be able to grant a wish as quickly as we’d like,” Jayaraj said. “Time is precious for children with life-threatening medical conditions.”
Make-A-Wish has 60 chapters throughout the United States and they all struggled with data Availability. Each chapter had its own IT infrastructure, storage network and data management policies. “We decided the best way to deliver on our mission was to centralize IT and standardize data management, so we began a major Digital Transformation process,” Jayaraj said. “Our mantra was leave the operational IT minutiae to us and focus on granting wishes.”
Make-A-Wish centralized its IT infrastructure in a private cloud, hosted and managed by phoenixNAP. Next Make-A-Wish deployed Veeam® Backup & Replication™ for Cloud Data Management. “We’re in the business of granting wishes, and Veeam and phoenixNAP help us grant wishes faster,” Jayaraj said. “They keep our data available, enabling us to reduce the wish-granting process by several days and bringing us closer to our goal of making every eligible child’s wish come true.”
Travis Gibson is Director of IT Infrastructure, Security and Operations at Make- A-Wish America. He said Veeam and phoenixNAP not only standardize data management, but they also simplify it, saving several hours each week and hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating costs in three years. “Backup, replication and recovery are so incredibly fast and easy with Veeam and phoenixNAP,” Gibson said. “They provide a single pane of glass for Cloud Data Management, so operational efficiency has increased, enabling us to function with a lean IT staff, yet still spend ample time supporting our chapters.”
Ian McClarty, President of phoenixNAP, said Cloud Data Management is most customers’ number one requirement. “Make-A-Wish America is an excellent example of an organization that satisfied a business requirement and reaped significant benefits,” McClarty said. “They centralized their IT infrastructure in a private cloud we host and manage for them and they standardized IT processes with Veeam Cloud Data Management. Together, Veeam and phoenixNAP help them simplify IT, save time and money, and support their mission.”
Veeam and phoenixNAP also support compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). “Our data is safe, protected and available because of Veeam and phoenixNAP, and that means I sleep much better at night,” Gibson said.
He’s not the only one sleeping better at night. Jono Smith, Director of Digital and Brand Communications at Make-A-Wish America, said he sleeps better too. “I’m responsible for crisis communications, so knowing our data is secure and protected makes my job easier. If we find ourselves in a disaster situation, we know our replicas can be recovered quickly, getting us back to the business of granting wishes.”
In addition to being an employee at Make-A-Wish, Smith has a personal connection too. “My niece was granted a wish, so I’ve been able to witness the impact a wish has on a child as well as a family. We all had the opportunity to see her living in the moment and not worrying about the next medical procedure. A wish is a gift to everyone in the family.”
The Digital Transformation at Make-A-Wish is nearly finished and over time the IT team is confident the organization’s data Availability needs are and will continue to be met. “We have two very busy seasons each year,” Jayaraj said. “We grant most wishes in May through August when school is out and fundraising is at its peak in October through January. Veeam and phoenixNAP keep our data available during these busy times, enabling us to raise the funds to meet our mission.”
Jayaraj said Make-A-Wish is grateful to Veeam and phoenixNAP for their support. “They’re more than vendors to us — they’re our partners because our mission is just as important to them as it is to us. We can’t grant wishes without them.”
Make-A-Wish is the world’s leading wish-granting organization for children with critical illnesses. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, Make-A-Wish serves kids in every community in the United States and in more than 50 countries. Hundreds of thousands of donors, supporters, staff and volunteers have granted 315,000 wishes since the organization began in 1980.
Granting wishes requires a lot of people and a lot of data. Sometimes wish-planning decisions must be made quickly, but if data is unavailable, a wish might not be granted promptly. Time is of the essence for sick children and their families, so when unreliable backup and recovery put data in a precarious state, Make-A-Wish decided to standardize data management.