Make-A-Wish walk raises $16,000

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Walk For Wishes last Saturdayraised more than $16,000 for Brookhaven-area children withlife-threatening illnesses.

The amount was announced Thursday by Jane Walsh, an eventorganizer with the charitable foundation.

“We feel real good about it,” she said. “We weren’t sure howwell we would do with everything else everyone is contributing tobecause of Hurricane Katrina.”

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For those reasons, Walsh said, no specific fund-raising goal wasset this year. The organization raised more than $26,000 in lastyear’s event. Under normal circumstances, the goal would have beenset at a percentage above the amount raised the year before.

Approximately 75 people attended Saturday’s walk, but manyothers contributed to the foundation’s efforts, she said.

Five-year-old Brianna Givens, of Monticello, a former wishchild, was the top individual fund-raiser with $1,700. She was alsothe top fund-raiser last year.

A team organized by Judy Arnold was awarded as top groupfund-raiser. The team raised $1,650.

The Tra Henderson team and the Brookhaven High School girlssoftball team received honors as largest teams, with 25 memberseach.

Henderson, who has osteogenisis imperfecta, received his wish tovisit Disney World in June.

The softball team had its own obstacles to overcome toparticipate in the walk, Walsh said.

“Homecoming was the night before for those girls, so I wasreally impressed when they came Saturday,” she said.

Michelle Legeai, the foundation’s special events coordinator,believes funding was even more important this year than perhaps inyears past.

“With the many hurricane evacuees fleeing to Jackson andsurrounding areas, we expect an influx of wish children,” she said.”Our mission of granting these wishes has not changed, so we willcontinue to work hard to grant all the wishes as quickly aspossible.”

Money donated stays in the local area to help with wishes forlocal children, Walsh said.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a nonprofit organization thatgrants wishes to children who suffer from life-threatening medicalconditions. Since 1984, the Mississippi chapter has granted morethan 800 wishes.