The Make A Wish Foundation of Illinois is celebrating their 25th Anniversary of their Gala the “Wish Ball” this Saturday May 21st by honoring 25 people and organizations that they have deemed “Leaders In Joy!” I am beyond honored to say that I am among this humbled group along others like Michael Jordan, Mayor Daley & Maggie Daley, Larry Wert, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Brian Urlacher, the Chicago Blackhawks and more. Since 1985 Make A Wish has been granting special wishes to children facing life threatening illnesses giving each child the power to decide the nature of their wish, providing a sense of renewed faith, courage and self-confidence. These are not in any way “last wishes” but experiences that remind the wish kids that although everything in their world seems to be falling apart, there is still good and magic out there, and I love that message.
As much as there are “Leaders In Joy” being honored, to me this event will be way more about celebrating the work that the Make A Wish team has done by granting nearly 10,000 wishes across the state! One of those wishes was for an awesome little girl, Sydney Martin, (in picture above) that I had the pleasure of meeting last March when helping her present her necklace jewelry line in a run-way show. I blogged about Sydney right after not only because I was extremely moved by her story, but also I was excited about her talents & future. She was diagnosed in 2007 with an extremely rare blood disease called Langerhan’s Cell Histicytosis (LCH), and started her own necklace line she has used to raise over $120,000 for LCH research. I’m just inspired by that, and feel like I got just as much out of helping, as she may have received by being granted a wish.
Because of the wonderful feelings and giving all the way around, I’m really looking forward to honoring her, the many many other kids like her, and all those that have been an important part of building the Illinois chapter in to the largest and most well-known wish-granting organization in the region.. to be included in that is something I will always cherish.
For more information about the Make A Wish Foundation and this year’s Wish Ball – please take the time to visit www.wishes.org.
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