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Make-A-Wish launches effort to raise much-needed funds

More than 35 children with life-threatening illnesses, theirfamilies and volunteers met Thursday in the State Room to kick offthe second annual Brookhaven Walk For Wishes campaign.

Walk For Wishes, a fund-raising event for the Make-A-WishFoundation of Mississippi, is scheduled Oct. 8 at Exchange ClubPark, said Jane Walsh, community development coordinator for thecharity organization.

“We’ll have some wish kids tell their stories then start withthe events,” she said.

Held in Brookhaven for the first time last year, the eventraised $25,000 for Make-A-Wish, which grants the wishes of childrenages 2 to 18 with life-threatening conditions.

“That was wonderful,” Walsh said. “We had hoped for about$10,000 for our first event.”

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi has granted 30 wishesin the Brookhaven area in the past five years. Nine wishes weregranted last year.

Allie Barkley and her parents, Earl and Sissy Barkley, ofLawrence County, received one of last year’s wishes. Allie, who hashad cerebral palsy since birth, and her family traveled to DisneyWorld for a week. She was nominated to Make-A-Wish by herdoctor.

“She got to see Mickey Mouse and Barney. That was very excitingfor her,” Earl Barkley said. “It’s just unreal how nice people canbe.”

Nearly a year later, Allie still gets excited at the memory ofthe trip, he said.

“Any time she sees something about Disney World she gets excitedand starts pointing at it,” Earl Barkley said.

T.J. McSparrin, president of the foundation, was delighted whenAllie used a machine attached to her wheelchair that gives voice topreprogrammed keys to tell McSparrin thank you for the trip andthat she had a wonderful time.