Warm Wishes – Winter 2013

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The official newsletter of Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire

Transcript of Warm Wishes – Winter 2013




    Benton, 6acute lymphoblastic leukemia

    I wish to be a Jedi

    Scan to see Bentons training video!

  • Fiscal Year 2014 is shaping up nicely as we have completed our first quarter on target to grant more than 330 wishes by the end of the year!

    More wishes means more volunteers needed, so we recently created a new volunteer department that will help us get additional wish granters, especially in our more remote areas.

    The quarter saw many special wishes come true for children in our community. In September, we worked closely with the City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Police Department to give Alex his wish to be a superhero! This was an incredible partnership for which we are very grateful!

    Our second annual Evening of Wishes gala was a great success with a sell-out crowd. Audience members watched as

    our young Jedi Knight, Benton, battled the dark force of Darth Vader and saved everyone at the gala. The crowd joined in as he received a special ceremony to knight him as our hero. We are thankful for all who generously gave of their time and treasure that night as this years Evening of Wishes gala raised more than $270,000 for our wish children!

    Finally, as the quarter drew to a close, we had the honor of fulfilling a wedding wish for an incredible young lady. It was Leslies wish to marry Daniel, her high school sweetheart, and have celebrity party planner David Tutera plan her wedding. Leslies wish was granted on Nov. 21 as David gave her the wedding of her dreams!

    Leslie recently lost her battle with her leukemia, but her memory lives on through all who were touched by her bravery and the bravery of Daniel, her new husband.

    A wish granted is a powerful and magical thing thank you all for helping us create this magic every day for these incredible children and their families!

    Stephanie McCormickPresident & CEO

    Ferril OnyettBoard Chair

    DEAR FRIENDS OF MAKE-A-WISH, From the CEO and Board Chair

    President & CEOStephanie McCormick

    Finance & Administration:Jeff Wacha, Director of FinanceEvelyn Morad, Office ManagerMaria Ruvalcaba, Operations AssistantRossana Powell, Receptionist

    Program Services Department:Christina Sandoval, Program Services ManagerMonica Fierro, Asst. Program Services ManagerMichelle Cuellar, Senior Wish CoordinatorHeather Craven, Wish CoordinatorLillianna Gomez, Program CoordinatorRachel Messina, Program CoordinatorMonica Cabral, Wish Assist SupervisorAngela Pueblos, Wish Assist Coordinator

    Development Department:Sarah Pizzaruso, Director of DevelopmentRebecca Kwait, OC Development ManagerFrancine Gobert, IE Development ManagerTina Robinette, Senior Development CoordinatorChristine Gaxiola, Donor CareSusan Brand, Development Associate

    Volunteer Department:Melissa Gallagher, Volunteer ManagerMarissa Euperio, Volunteer Coordinator

    Board of Directors:Ferril Onyett, ChairSieg Weber, Vice ChairMelvin Tobaru, SecretaryJohn Link, TreasurerJeff Larson, Development Committee ChairMike Lednovich, Audit Committee ChairKathleen Bardsley, DirectorJoan Donnellan, DirectorMichael Hickman, DirectorJanine McDonald, DirectorKimberly Motta, MD, DirectorJohn Ott, DirectorMichael Rapacz, DirectorJessica Reicher, DirectorTerri Sacks, DirectorMike Shapiro, DirectorJC Timmons, DirectorPamela Wasley, DirectorCheryl Watton, Director

    On the cover

    You brought back a piece of what he lost during his journey.

    Bentons mom, Patricia

    Special thanks to the following groups for helping to make Bentons wish possible:

  • Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far, far away, it is a period of hope, strength and joy for a young Padawan named Benton who has wished to learn the ways of a Jedi.

    Many times, Benton has battled the Dark Side with a lightsaber in a world of fantasy at his house. But its been a very real battle for Benton over the last three years as he has been in treatment for leukemia.

    He so enjoys Star Wars and has so many times been a Jedi in our house with his brother, said Bentons father, Bill. I think that the idea of being a Jedi represents escape and the ultimate display of fantasy for him.

    At the Jedi training center, Jedi Masters from across the galaxy assembled to train Benton in

    the ways of the Force, including the skills and techniques of the lightsaber, the philosophy and methods of the Jedi and a special skill known as a Force Push used to defend oneself against villains and users of the the Dark Side.

    The ability to perform on a large scale what hes always wanted to do he didnt think this was fantasy, Bill said. He really thought this was real.

    But if Benton thought his wish was over after that day of training, it was because nobody could imagine what would happen at the 2nd annual Evening of Wishes gala held a week later to benefit Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire. While the audience enjoyed a video of Bentons wish, the lights suddenly went out as team of Storm

    Troopers and Darth Vader himself appeared to take control of the event. Thankfully, Benton and the Jedi Order were there to defend the guests. After an exciting battle, Benton used the Force Push to banish Darth Vader and save the evening. Bentons parents watched from the audience as he followed the Jedi on stage to be knighted.

    What a healing experience for Benton to see himself as a strong, courageous and skilled warrior a Jedi, his mom Patricia shared with Make-A-Wish after the event.

    You brought back a piece of what he lost during his journey, and brought him to a land far, far away where there are no doctors, nurses or needles, and the only limits are those of his imagination.

    Benton defeats Darth Vader and becomes a Jedi Knight

  • 4The 2nd annual Evening of Wishes gala was held on Oct. 25 at the beautiful Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach.

    The evening featured an incredible silent auction of nearly 70 items and a live auction including a Tuscan getaway, a Los Cabos vacation and a unique opportunity to dine at the Wilcox Manor.

    After dinner and a narrow escape from Darth Vader (see previous page), guests and storm troopers alike filled the dance floor to the tunes of Haute Chile to finish off a perfect evening!

    We are so thankful to all of our sponsors (listed below) including Disneyland Resort, represented by Make-A-Wish board member

    and Disney Vice President of Marketing Strategy Jeff Larson (pictured above with Make-A-Wish CEO Stephanie McCormick and board president Ferril Onyett).

    Be sure to save the date for the 3rd Annual Evening of Wishes gala taking place Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. It is sure to be another spectacular and magical evening!

    SPECIAL THANKS to our generous event sponsors Sterling Search, Inc.Grant Thornton

    Sheckler FoundationCox Cares

    Wish GownsArrowmac

    Community BankAngel Bins


    2013 Evening of Wishes gala raises $270,000

  • 5The Meyer Family180 Business Solutions

    Seven Gables Real EstateHaskell & White

    Orange County Business BankOh My Nails!

    BJs Restaurantsd2 Business Solutions

    Photos by Sargeant Creative

  • Supportive Students & Schools

    We were excited to honor 11-year-old Logan from Irvine this month when he reached his extraordinary goal of adopting the wish of another local child as a part of our Kids For Wish Kids program.

    In April of 2012, Logan decided that for his 10th birthday he would ask his friends and family to make a donation to Make-A-Wish instead of bringing him birthday presents. He even created his own childrens book complete with hand-drawn artwork to give out as a thank-you gift for large donations. When Logan surpassed his goal of raising $300 and made it to $1,000, he was inspired to keep going.

    Since that first fundraising gesture, Logan has held fundraisers at The Lazy Dog Cafe and Jamba Juice, hosted Halloween parties with silent auctions, participated in our Walk For Wishes event and used an online fundraising page to collect donations. He also held a movie night in his neighborhood with a small entrance fee to raise funds for the wish.

    In November, Logan reached his goal of raising $5,000 to adopt Alexs wish to be a superhero. After all of his hard work and collecting donations for the last two years, we thought it would be fitting for Logan to adopt this wish because he has been a superhero to Make-A-Wish!

    Make-A-Wish clubsMore than 50 high schools throughout Orange County and the Inland Empire have signed on this year with a Make-A-Wish club as part of our Kids For Wish Kids program. These young leaders serve as advocates for the Make-A-Wish mission in our community as they raise funds and awareness to benefit local wish children. Special thanks to the clubs that lead this year in fundraising so far: Marina High School ($1,815), Citrus Valley High School ($1,400) and Cypress High School ($1,267)!

    Mr. UniversityThe Eta Upsilon chapter of Alpha Phi at Chapman University held its annual male beauty pageant, Mr. University, on Nov. 12 with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish. This event gets the entire Greek community involved as participants compete for the title in formal wear, state walk, talent, Q&A and fundraising! We were grateful for another year of support from this fun event and happy to be present that night with a special guest speaker a local wish recipient who also got to serve as a guest judge!

    Holiday eventsMake-A-Wish clubs and youth volunteers are helping local wish kids by running giftwrapping and holiday fundraising tables this month! Look out for our tables throughout December at The Shops at Mission