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Sixth Walk For Wishes Oct. 24

Charles Magee said when his son Chad was diagnosed at age 14with Friedreich’s Ataxia, a progressive deterioration of thenervous system, it was devastating.

“To say it knocked us down is an understatement,” he said.

Magee said his son had been a star athlete, and to face the ideathat he would be in a wheelchair by the time he was in his 20s wasmore than the family could bear. It was a trying time, he said, andwill continue to be.

But Make-A-Wish was a bright spot.

Make-A-Wish is an organization that helps children withlife-threatening illnesses have their wildest dreams come true,said spokesperson Jane Walsh. And the group that gathered at theState Room on Thursday night was there to begin the gear up for theOctober Walk for Wishes 5K fundraiser for Make-A-Wish, andtherefore help make those dreams a reality.

“It’s about hope, strength and joy,” Walsh said. “That’s what wetry to do for these families. It’s all a great tool to help thesekids to continue to deal with what they’re dealing with. You can’tput into words the good we do.”

Walsh told the group about different wishes the organization hasgranted for children just in Mississippi – more than 80 last year.She said there had been wishes for everything from a trip to DisneyWorld to the Atlanta Braves games, to Chad Magee’s wish to have atruck refurbished with a paint job, rims and a stereo system.

One little boy wanted nothing more than to ride a horse, andanother just wanted swimming lessons, she said.

“And it all boils down to what you’re doing here,” she told theteam representatives.

The team members received their packets to help them begin thefundraising for the October 24 event, which is Brookhaven’s sixthannual. The Walk for Wishes raised $20,000 last year.

When you consider that a child’s wish averages a cost of $5,000,that’s not bad, Walsh said.

The event takes place on Oct. 24 at the Exchange Club Park, andteam members will be asked to raise $100 each for the walk in orderto get a T-shirt. Walsh said there is a usual average of about 10members per team, but they can be as large or as small as theywant.