Successful Wish Ball Supports Make-A-Wish
David Spade with wish child Andre
Hundreds of supporters turned out to help Make-A-Wish®
Illinois celebrate the power of a wish at the annual black-tie Wish Ball on Saturday, May 12 at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum. Raising $1.2 million, the event was emceed by "Access Hollywood's" Billy Bush
and featured a special performance by David Spade
. Rosemarie Andolino
, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation accepted the Leader in Joy Award on behalf of the agency's overall involvement of employees who help grant aviation related wishes and their support of the many wish families who travel through Chicago airports on their way to their dream destinations every year.
Jeff Young, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Make-A-Wish Illinois with Rosemarie Andolino, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. The Chicago Department of Aviation was named the 2012 Leader in Joy.
The award was presented by Billy Dec
, the CEO of Rockit Ranch Productions who was named honored in 2011. The Leader In Joy honor is bestowed annually to an
inspirational individual or group who has helped advance the Make-A-Wish mission and whose continued influence will help grow the chapter to reach all eligible children in Illinois with life-threatening medical conditions.
Wish Parent Ray Wehr of Northbrook spoke of his son Collin's wish to be an NFL Network Reporter, granted last summer when he reported on Chicago Bears practice from Halas Hall with former Bear and current television personality Tom Waddle. His wish experience was shown on the national network and inspired many people near and far to reach out to Collin with encouraging, compassionate acts.
Israel Idonije with wish child Collin Wehr
"The power of a wish is when these young men, the team captains, jumped up to help Collin walk onto the field for the coin toss," Wehr said during his remarks, describing a Glenbrook North High School football game where Collin was honored shortly after his wish.
Notable attendees included Billy Dec, Larry Wert, Tim Smithe, and Chicago Bear Israel Idonije who met with Collin and his family to reminisce about Collin's wish.
The evening also included performances by the Wheaton Warrenville South High School Show Choir, a robust silent auction and a energetic live auction where a New York foodie package, complete with private jet and a meet and greet with the Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and Good Morning America's Ginger Zee went for $36,000.
Emcee Billy Bush with 2011 Leader In Joy and presenter Billy Dec
The annual black tie gala helps generate revenue to support wishes granted to Illinois children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. This year's theme "Where Wishes Take Flight" was a nod to the popularity of travel wishes granted by the organization. Each year, more than 70 percent of all wishes granted to Illinois children involve travel. Since being founded locally in 1985, the chapter has granted more than 10,000 wishes across the state. Last year, the Foundation fulfilled 766 wishes, the most ever in chapter history.
Make-A-Wish does NOT solict donations through telemarketing or door-to-door.