After losing her son Nik to cancer in 2012, Kelli Ritschel Boehle of Rockford, Illinois embarked on a mission to bring joy to young adults fighting cancer and honor her son's dying wish.

What is the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation?

If you've lived in the Rockford area in the last 10 years, I'm sure you've heard of the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation,  (a.k.a. Nik's Wish). You may know that Nik's Wish helps young adults and their families fighting cancer, but do you know why? It's a very powerful story...

According to the;

Nik was diagnosed with cancer just before his 18th birthday and was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This wish meant the world to him. It gave him hope and happiness in a time of struggle and pain. When Nik discovered that kids over 17 do not qualify, he wanted to help. The night before cancer took his life in 2012, he asked to help them have a wish too. The Nikolas Ritschel Foundation (aka Nik's Wish) was born.

Nikolas Ritschel Foundation via Facebook
Nikolas Ritschel Foundation via Facebook

Nik's mom, Kelli Ritschel Boehle, along with an army of passionate volunteers have fulfilled over 300 wishes to young adult cancer warriors all across the nation, and they aren't stopping anytime soon.

I have had the honor of meeting and getting to talk with Kelli in the past, and this woman is nothing short of an inspiration.

If I lost one of my children to cancer, I would probably lock myself in my home and never get out of bed, but not Kelli. When I see her, she always has a smile on her face and amazes me with the stories of people she has met and brought joy to in honor of Nik.

It's hard for me to put into words how much respect I have for the legacy of love and joy that Kelli and her team have created, and I can't think of a better person, or organization, to receive the CNN Heroes honor.

What Is CNN Heroes?

CNN Heroes is a year-round segment that honors "everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to make the world a better place", and Kelli Ritschel Boehle certainly fills those requirements!

While watching CNN's video highlighting Kelli Ritschel Boehle and the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation, I had to grab the tissues, and I'm willing to bet you will too...

Congratulations, Kelli! Nik must be bursting with love, pride, and smiles right now!

Please help the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation continue its mission of joy by making a donation today at

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