The guests arrived in fanciful hats and elegant dress, but the beneficiaries of the event were Iowa kids battling life-threatening medical conditions who are waiting to have their wishes granted. Make-A-Wish® Iowa’s annual Dubuque gala, themed Run for the Roses – a Kentucky Derby Gala, welcomed more than 500 guests, including many area wish families.
The evening was planned by the Dubuque Area Committee of Make-A-Wish Iowa and featured specialty Oak Lily drinks, dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing with live music from Sid V and the Human Resources.
The most moving part of the evening came when 11-year-old wish child Cassie Williams and her mother, Maryjo, shared their experience having a wish granted through Make-A-Wish Iowa. Cassie lives with a progressive congenital heart defect. Something that she’ll deal with for her entire life and that will continue to require surgeries and procedures.
Cassie was seven when Make-A-Wish volunteers first arrived at her house. Her wish was to go on a cruise with Disney Cruise Line®. She and her family of six boarded a ship called “Dream” and set off for a wish adventure in the Caribbean that included water slides, pools, a lot of ice cream, and trips to two different islands.
“The highlight of the trip was when Make-A-Wish set us up with an amazing dolphin adventure,” Cassie shared with the gala guests. “I originally thought only I would swim with the dolphins, but the whole family got to participate…We danced with them, fed them and did so much more in the water, including a foot push across the lagoon.”
“I enjoyed this trip because it gave my family and me a chance to have fun and be together. Many things related to my heart defect don’t involve my siblings…Wishes allow families to have fun and not have to worry.”
Maryjo, Cassie’s mom, related her experience. “Make-A-Wish gave us a week we’ll never forget - a chance to spend time together as a family, away from reality. We have met the most selfless and amazing people through Make-A-Wish. Words could never express the true extent of our gratitude and appreciation.”
The 2014 Dubuque gala raised a record amount of money for the second year in a row – enough to grant the wishes of eleven Iowa kids, including those in the Dubuque area. Make-A-Wish Iowa is granting a wish almost every other day in the state and the average wish costs $8,500. The 2015 Make-A-Wish Dubuque gala will be March 21st at the Grand River Center.
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Make-A-Wish® Iowa grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The Foundation has granted wishes to more than 2,800 children living with a life-threatening medical condition and currently grants a wish every other day in Iowa. To find out more, visit our web site www.iowa.wish.org. Share the Power of a Wish®!